Take This Waltz (2012)


Why would anybody want to leave Seth Rogen? The guy is so cuddly and cool. A woman’s dream, I think.

Michelle Williams stars as a young woman named Margot, who is happily married to a cookbook writer, Lou (Seth Rogen). But when she finds herself instantly swept off her feet by a handsome stranger (Luke Kirby) and realizes he lives just across the street, she finds out some unsettling truths about herself and the nature of love.

First thing I think about whenever I hear actresses name Sarah Polley, I think of her kick-ass roles in films like The Sweet Hereafter and Dawn of the Dead, and sadly, I think of Splice a little bit too, but let’s all forget about that one. However, the words “kick-ass indie director” have never popped into my head before, and I think they may be now.

For the first hour or so, I didn’t really know what to think of this movie because of what I thought it was trying to do. The first two acts, I kept thinking that this film obviously wants me to root on Margot to leave Lou and go for that strange dude she just met on a plane. This seemed fairly obvious, and not something that I was liking at first because as much as I thought the character development was well-done and the script kept me interested, I just couldn’t get my head past the fact that this chick is choosing the right guy and I think this film doesn’t know it quite yet.

However, Sarah Polley totally changes everything up and the last 20 minutes ended up being something so much more special than I originally though. This sudden change then changes up the whole tempo and idea of this film up and it got me wondering just how the hell did Polley pull this off? I mean for the whole hour 30 minutes, I kept thinking the whole time of how this was going to wrap-up and why, but she somehow pulled the rug from underneath me, made me think differently about these characters and the story that they are in, and as unconventional as the twist by the end of the story may be, I still believed it. Polley has only had one other film to her credit, but I think she shows some real talent here as not only a director, but writer as well and shows that she is able to takes risks when it comes to changing her stories up in different ways that sometimes the viewer, can change their opinions on the final product as well.

The problem with the first hour and 30 minutes though, is that some of it can be rather annoying, to say the least. Polley definitely has an ear for naturalistic dialogue, and I felt like the way that Margot and Lou acted with each other were how most people who are in love, usually act, but some of the hokey dialogue just takes away from all of that. Almost every single scene with Margot and this stranger bothered me because not only was he a deuche, but all of their conversations were basically filled with a bunch of quirky dialogue, where it almost seems like Polley was trying to remind us that this was an indie film we were watching and that they are allowed to pull off any type of dialogue that may be perceived as strange, weird, or just plain and simply, different. Also, that whole bit about how Margot is “afraid to be afraid” just made me sigh and is just another clear example as to how hoka-poka this dialogue can be sometimes.

Also, another aspect that brought me out of this film was that stranger dude himself, played by Luke Kirby. Kirby isn’t bad with this role here, it’s just more that this character was so damn obvious that it was hard for me to fall for him, let alone even harder to see how could somebody like Margot even do the same. You know, this guy is another quintessential idealized male love interest who lives in shitty loft, an artist who feels like nobody understands his work which is why he doesn’t bring it out to art galleries, has a quirky job as a rickshaw driver (seems like fun though), and dresses hip and looks cool, especially for those young, married ladies. He’s pretty much the same old, one-of-a-kind dude you usually see in these types of movies and it seems so phony that it really started losing my interest every time he came up on-screen.

Thankfully, I had Michelle Williams to save the day, and I couldn’t have had asked for anything less. Williams is playing a more lighter side to her role in Blue Valentine, but she still shows a lot of problems that that character had and once again, she plays it perfectly. Williams definitely makes Margot seem a lot more genuine than the script may have intended her to be, because the whole idea of being a complicated girl, in a complicated marriage, going through a very complicated period in your life, definitely is something that’s hard to make likable, especially when you’re getting ready to leave Rogen for Kirby. Still, Williams does a great job giving us a three-dimensional character with Margot and it just shows us why she is going to be next big-star in Hollywood. Can’t wait to see it, either.

Seth Rogen takes a very risky departure from his usual comedy roles, and gives off something more dramatic than we usually see from him. The problem is that the film doesn’t really focus on him that much, but when it does, especially in the last 20 minutes, he does a great job and shows that he can handle some of the more subtle, dramatic material as well. Sarah Silverman is pretty good as his recovering alcoholic sister, who, of course, has a lot of funny things to do and say, but also brings out one of the best scenes by the end, and shows that she also has a bit of dramatic depth in her skills as well.

Consensus: Take This Waltz was a film that started off obvious, with the quirky dialogue and set-up we usually get from these sorts of flicks, but it changes about half-way through and becomes a totally different film to look at, which is also made better by the fact that these are some very rich and strong performances from this good cast.

7.5/10=Rental!!

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15 comments

  1. I have heard so many mixed opinions about this, but I have a free pass, so I figure I may as well use it. I might catch this in the coming week. Great review!

  2. Saw this last week and I really hated it. Couldn’t get into it at all, didn’t believe the relationships either. I basically didn’t care about the characters in this.

  3. Awesome review! I will definetly see this one. I love Sarah Polley – she is so universally talented – great actress and a skilled director too. And Michelle Williams never disappoints.

  4. Hey Dan, so glad to hear you enjoyed this one. The reaction has been decidedly mixed so far, but I loved this movie and still think it’s one of the better ones to be released this year. I think it would struggle mightily without Michelle Williams, though. She really is impressive here.

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