Take This Waltz

Take This Waltz

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Waltzing suggests the idea of two people gracefully moving in one another's arms, perfectly in step. But let's not forget it also gives us the phrase "waltz off". And the word's positive and negative dimensions are both explored in Sarah Polley's film, which like her directorial feature debut Away From Her, takes an interest in love triangles.

But where the love in Away From Her was of the long-lived and tempered sort, the brand exhibited by Margot (Michelle Williams) and Lou (Seth Rogen) is not quite as rare an article. Their marriage seems to offer Margot playful comfort rather than fireworks - the pair verbally spar with one another in an 'in-joke' way that will strike a chord with anyone who has been in a long-term relationship - but when it comes to physicality, Lou is more passionate about the chicken recipe book he is writing than his wife. This might be all well and good, were it not for their new sexy neighbour Daniel (Luke Kirby), who enters into a mating waltz with Margot that may or may not be consumated.


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The idea of the cyclical nature of love and life is ripe for exploration and Margot is a pleasingly complex character, whose motivations are believable, while the scenes of burgeoning will they/won't they lust between her and Daniel come with more chemistry than a school science lab.

In two stand-out scenes, Polley also uses her camerwork to underline the ideas of circularity and dancing to good effect, with one moment on a fairground ride recalling a similarly heady scene in Lola. The script, however, lacks the subtlety of these moments, with Polley underlining her themes too heavily and too often. She also makes the same mistake - albeit in reverse - as many male directors dealing with torn love, in that the characters of the opposite sex, in this case the men, are much more thinly drawn than the central female.

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It's nice to see Rogen in a role that is less juvenile than usual but he has too little dialogue - almost all of it 'jokey' - offering us little insight into what made Margot pick him in the first place. The final 30 minutes would also benefit from an edit as Polley begins to labour the point. Take This Waltz may be flawed but there's still a considerable amount to enjoy if you're interested in relationship dramas exploring some of the finer complexities of love.

Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2012
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A romantic drama about a young woman torn between the man she has and the man she wants.
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Director: Sarah Polley

Writer: Sarah Polley

Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman, Aaron Abrams

Year: 2011

Runtime: 116 minutes

Country: Canada

Festivals:

SSFF 2011
Tribeca 2012

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If you like this, try:

Away From Her
Blue Valentine