Take this Waltz Review
September 9, 2012
Indie dramas about romance aren't everyone's cup of tea, but Take This Waltz certainly swept me off my feet. Although one particular member of the Movie Talking team wasn't won over.
A saturated colour scheme combined with quirky characters and a charming soundtrack is my ideal cinema experience. I normally have to wait once in a blue moon to indulge in such treats at the cinema, but this year I really have been spoilt. The king of indie, Wes Anderson (as if you needed clarification), outdid himself this year with the delightful Moonrise Kingdom; enough to sedate my appetite for 12 months at least. Before the flurry of indie films afoot this autumn; the end of the summer saw Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz grace the equally endearing Old Market Hall in Shrewsbury. Polley’s first feature endeavour as a producer, Take This Waltz marks her return to behind the camera and not a moment too soon; as this much anticipated film did not disappoint.
Twentysomething Margot (Michelle Williams) is a freelance writer married to kind, charming Lou (Seth Rogen). At first glance, their marriage is happy, fulfilling and pretty solid. That is until she meets Daniel (Luke Kirby) on a business trip and they instantly hit it off. Failing to mention that she’s married at first, it becomes near impossible to suppress their intense, instant feelings when they discover they are neighbours. Take This Waltz documents their summer together as they battle their feelings, punctuated by Lou’s diverse chicken dishes and near unbearable heat.
While Take This Waltz isn’t for everyone; I loved it. An indie film through and through, it examines Margot’s troubled relationships: initially with her husband, her tricky connections with his family and her difficult to define predicament with Daniel. Williams, as always, is brilliant; she plays the incredibly unlikeable Margot wonderfully. Troubled and indecisive, she isn’t the nicest of people. A wonderfully emotive performance, Williams is surrounded by an equally impressive cast. Seth Rogen as the loveable cuckold-to-be Lou is perfect, and everything one would want from a husband. What I found most surprising was Sarah Silverman’s performance; the foul-mouthed comic is excellent as a recovering alcoholic. Featuring in the longest full-frontal scene I’ve ever seen alongside Williams and Jennifer Podemski; I cannot remember seeing such a naturalistic portrayal of nudity in cinema which only adds to the beauty of Take This Waltz.
Polley is a gorgeous cinematographer, capturing some beautiful moments throughout Take This Waltz; the three very different waltzer scenes especially. Margot visits indoor waltzers at three very different points of the film; twice with Daniel, once alone. Set to Video Killed the Radio Star, I will refrain from hyperbolically expressing my adoration of these scenes for fear I give the away the splendour. What I love most about Polley’s direction and production is her ability to capture naturalism. Whether the scenes are touching or sad; they’re always truthful.
Much like (500) Days of Summer or Blue Valentine, Take This Waltz isn’t a conventional love story. At times crushing, but always beautiful and breathtaking, Polley examines a range of selfish human emotions; lust especially. The only aspect I thought was a little unnecessary is Margot’s exploration of repressed sexuality; it needn’t have been so explicit. Despite this, Polley’s Take This Waltz succeeded in seducing me; resulting in giggles and tears in the same 116 minutes.