Genre: Comedy, Drama
Directed by: Sarah Polley
Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman
Once again Michelle Williams shows the world what she’s capable of with an awkwardly brilliant and candid performance that secures her position at the top of her profession. Beautiful attention to detail and a strangely poetic narrative makes Take This Waltz one of the most unusual and quirky films of 2012.
Williams is superbly cast as Margot, a happily married woman who falls in love with a carefree artist who lives across the road from her. What starts as a harmless fascination with Daniel (Luke Kirby), a man she meets on a plane back to her home town of Toronto, develops into an all-consuming pull that has Margot doubting the sincere happiness of her marriage. Despite never actually entering into an affair, Margot’s fantasies about Daniel begin to tarnish the way she views her husband Lou (Seth Rogen). Take This Waltz circles around the sentiment that the grass is always greener on the other side, whilst studying marital complacency and the feeling of inexplicable melancholy.
Director Sarah Polley has created a simple yet cinematic piece of filmmaking that’s wryly amusing from the outset and peculiarly affecting. The camera work is stunning, exceeding many of 2012’s big blockbusters with understated ease. Polley takes notice of the small details – the things that Margot herself notices – which gives the audience a unique insight in to the character. Margot sees the world through childlike eyes, expecting her husband to be a constant and idealistic source of playfulness for her amusement. This childish persona makes her susceptible to sudden feelings of melancholy, a feeling that doesn’t lend itself to a mature and stable relationship.
Seth Rogen, as Margot’s husband Lou, is quite the revelation. He’s gentle and understated, sweet even, and his quietly contented husband complements Williams’ instability. Who’d have thought that the crude comedy veteran could pull off this type of role? This film has opened Rogen up to a more grown up avenue, one I hope he will explore further.
If there was anything to fault with Take This Waltz it would be with Margot’s rationality. Is this change of heart real or is her unexplained melancholy the sole driving force? Will she regret her decisions later on in life when the melancholy passes? It’s a struggle to get in to her mindset; much like it was with Justine in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011). These characters are complex and it’s difficult to empathise with them – whether that’s a bad thing or not is debateable. It certainly makes for an intriguing watch.
Take This Waltz is a surprising gem of a film, simultaneously weird and wonderful as it delves into the multifaceted human psyche. Whilst we’ve come to expect great things from Williams and Rogen already, if this film is anything to go by we can also expect great things from Sarah Polley in the future.