Take This Waltz (15)
It only takes a minute to fall in love – or to fall in love with the idea of falling in love. And in that instant whole lives can – and will – be changed.
Take This Waltz offers up two versions of life: comfort and knowing versus mystery and longing. Michelle Williams plays the unfulfilled wife of laid-back Seth Rogen. She’s not looking for excitement in her world but it arrives in the form of Luke Kirby, a stranger she meets on assignment – she’s a writer – and later on the ‘plane home.
Mild flirtation turns into hesitant, wary romance when the mystery man reveals he lives right across the street. Suddenly Margot (Williams) is living a double life as Daniel (Kirby) slowly seduces her mind with fantasy talk and easy sexuality.
This Brief Encounter for 21st century North America is a love triangle with a difference as Margot ricochets from dependable, pleasant, caring Lou (Rogen) to adventurous, charming, handsome Daniel.
It’s also a mischievous battle of the sexes, allowing the male and female of the species to side with some, all or none of the characters as this delicious little passion play unfolds.
Writer/director Sarah Polley presents Margot as a vague woman who wants the freedom of newness, of discovery. She’s warned by a friend: “New things are shiny. New things get old”. It’s a truism she prefers to ignore. She wants a stylised, idealised, fantasy love life. Reality has lost its lustre.
At first glance a feminist treatise on love, or just a standard chick flick, Take This Waltz is actually a much deeper consideration on what represents love and affection. It is underlined by a seduction scene in a coffee shop in which Kirby describes, in detail, how he would romance Williams. It represents exotica-porn-love in that order. In the screening I watched you could hear a pin drop.
Williams, so good in the bleak Blue Valentine, here offers up another (very different) portrait of lost love. Rogen is the balance. Kirby the smiling marriage wrecker. It’s beautiful and destructive and sad. It’s also one of the smartest movies about love in a long time.