3.5 out of 5 stars
“I’m afraid of being afraid”
“Is that a shoudvitation or an invitation?”
Take This Waltz has definitely been lauded as many things, most of these adjectives sound positive and sexy: sultry, hot, steamy. You rarely see adultery or cheating in the headline. It may be a sign of our times or just that most reviewers want to focus on the positive in the case of this film.
However it is a difficult film to watch. Particularly if you believe that cheating is the worst thing anyone can do (as do I) or you are a huge Seth Rogen fan (as am I). This is despite the fact that I am predisposed to be a fan of anything by Sarah Polley (who wrote and directed the film).
Unlike many independent films, after making the festival rounds and being picked up for distribution, Take This Waltz is currently available to watch by most anyone with an internet connection, thanks to the wonders of Video on Demand.
Take This Waltz centers on Margot (Michelle Williams). She is a sometimes writer and supposedly happy housewife to Lou (Seth Rogen). The film opens with Margot on a puff piece writing assignment, though we never get to see her work again during the film. While on assignment and during her return trip home she meets an intriguing man named Daniel (Luke Kirby). They make a connection with each other and then find out that they now live across the street from one another.
Margot mainly seems like a bored, horny housewife. Though the film makes takes great pains to show that Lou’s family has integrated her into theirs with welcoming arms, Lou himself is inattentive. During the film she has to mention how embarrassing it is to try to seduce your husband and he just doesn’t get it. This, to me, is probably the most intriguing part of the film. Margot obviously has some type of anxiety disorder. She isn’t just shy. You rarely see this projected on screen. So in the beginning this makes it very easy to become endeared to Margot, even though you know what’s coming.
During the course of the film Margot tries to get her hubby’s attention but he is constantly working on recipes for his cookbook because he takes his writing seriously. Despite the fact that they have silly couple rituals that they perform to stay in touch he never seems to understand Margot.
This should make it easy for us to understand her gradual seduction by wannabe artist, but actual rickshaw driver Daniel but he sometimes insults her, which I do not find at all attractive. There is a very steamy scene in the film in which they discuss what they would do if they got together. He seduces her so totally with words that it’s like reading a romance novel aloud, it’s incredibly hot.
During the film you don’t really know for the longest time whether or not she will actually cheat on her husband which makes for an awkward, yet suspenseful watch. I do not believe in spoilers so I won’t tell you if they get together. You need to go watch it instead.
It should also be noted that Sarah Silverman gives a stand out performance as Rogen’s sister, Geraldine, a recovering alcoholic. However she so completely steals the scenes that she is in that you wonder if she should just have her own film until you later realize that they are using her alcoholism as a metaphor and plot point for Margot.
On the other hand you have Rogen’s performance. While he isn’t given that much to do during the bulk of the film there is a very dramatic part that feels improvised and lacking. I find it very difficult to critique him in that way but it doesn’t reach the depth that he’s shown in other dramas such as 50/50 and Funny People.
During the flick Margot changes, becoming more free, this is most likely why Williams herself likens it to a coming of age movie. I would recommend watching this movie once just because it’s so different from other films out there but I won’t be adding it to my collection.
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