Take This Waltz
Unfaithfully Yours: Take This Waltz serves up some great performances but not much else.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Actress/writer/director Sarah Polley – the Canadian indie darling who garnered an Oscar nod for Best Adapted Screenplay last year for her big-screen directorial debut Away From Her – continues to question marriage in her sophomore big-screen directing effort Take This Waltz.
The marriage in question involves Lou (Seth Rogen), a quirky cookbook writer who digs juvenile pranks and thumb wrestling, and Margot (Michelle Williams), a shy, sexy freelance writer. But it’s really only Margot who’s questioning the relationship. We quickly figure this out in the beginning of the film when she meets Daniel (Luke Kirby) on a business trip – a quintessential unshaven, struggling artist/rickshaw operator whose character is barely developed – and engages in some heavy duty flirting before disclosing, almost as an afterthought, that she’s married. Coincidentally, it turns out Daniel lives across the street from the couple, which sets the stage for what almost seems like an indie version of Adrian Lyne’s Unfaithful.
From the moment Lou is introduced you want him to come out on top and you resent Margot for even considering having an affair with Daniel, who’s a poor man’s Vince Vaughn at best. Rogen delivers one of the best performances of his career as a lovable and loyal husband who cooks for his wife every night, snuggles her in bed and truly appreciates all her idiosyncrasies, like brushing her teeth while she pees. Williams not surprisingly also delivers a solid performance as a semi-narcissistic cutie with self-esteem issues. All the scenes between the two are fun to watch because their chemistry is undeniable, which is why it doesn’t make sense that Margot could actually fall for someone who’s half the man that Lou is. Meanwhile, every moment that Margot shares with her dream guy – including a painfully silly scene when she asks Daniel to describe what he would do to her sexually – is as uncomfortable as a urinary tract infection. And when she inevitably indulges in her fantasy, which plays out through a gratuitous montage of humping and threesomes, you find yourself wishing that she would either contract an STD or that the movie would just end.
Another one of the few bright spots in the film is comedian Sarah Silverman’s performance as Rogen’s straight-shooting sister Geraldine, a recovering alcoholic who gives Margot some words of wisdom after the damage has already been done: “Life has a gap and it’s sometimes hard to fill it.”
In other words, marriage is never a smooth rickshaw ride that’s constantly filled with excitement. Sometimes you have to work at it.
All in all, Take This Waltz falls flat in story and drags on, but it’s still worth seeing for the dynamic acting churned out by Rogen, Williams and Silverman.
TAKE THIS WALTZ (2) • Directed by Sarah Polley • Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Lake Kirby and Sarah Silverman • Rated R • 116 min • At Osio Cinemas