Monthly Archives: July 2012

Take This Waltz: Variations on Indie Nothingness

“Why is my life, like, so, like, you know?”

Written and Directed by Sarah Polley
Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogan, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman

Canadian writer/director Sarah Polley (from Away With Her fame) has delivered to us yet another quirky, Indie flick about a lost, charming girl, her adorable husband, and the hunky man who threatens to take her heart. Probably don’t bother with this film. Freelance writer Margot (Michelle Williams) is happily married to her adoring, teddy-bear-like husband Lou (Seth Rogan), however, their relationship has turned into a cuddly comfort rather than the electrifying lust of a new romance. Insert Prince Charming. Daniel (Luke Kirby) is the mysterious and good-looking neighbour who swoons in with all the right words at the right time.

Margot and Luke have intense chemistry, – there is one particular scene where Luke describes in detail all the romantic and sexual things he could do to her and I swear I could hear the women in the audience clutch their pearls and fan themselves – and this chemistry threatens to break the happy and comfortable foundation Margot and Lou have created for themselves. Margot has to make the decision to stay with the familiarity and tenderness of her husband Lou, or to cut off her comfort and embrace the sparks of a new relationship.

The movie sounds set up for a fairly decent, intriguing love triangle, right? Well, yes and no. First of all, Michelle Williams gives it her best shot with our completely two-dimensional and frankly boring protagonist, Margot. The beginning of the film has a lot of hope for this character: she’s perfectly normal rather than your typical, beautiful, bird-like heroine, so before she even opens her mouth, women can relate to her. She’s fresh-faced without makeup, untouched hair and wears ordinary clothes. And yet, somehow, Sarah Polley has managed to indulge in an overly clichéd, struggling, eccentric-gal routine, with some of Margot’s quirks including being wheeled around airports in a wheelchair (even though she can walk perfectly fine), peeing in public swimming pools and generally being a cutesie, bubbly, baby-talking wifey.

Whenever Polley fails to deliver decent, in-depth dialogue, Williams has to resort to looking sad at the camera while soft folk music plays in the background. However, when she’s not staring off into a metaphorical void, she attempts to show the curious emotion on her character’s face through an impressive range of facial twitches and wild bursts of hysterical laughter. On a more positive note, the most stellar performances come from the comedic actors Seth Rogan and Sarah Silverman, with Rogan giving the most heart-breaking, tear-jerking scene in the whole movie. His entire character is completely endearing and likeable but most importantly, he’s believable.

Having only seen Seth Rogan play a burnt-out pothead or a struggling comedian, I was surprised to see such an honest and brutal performance from him. His character saved the film for me when I no longer cared for Margot’s outcome in life and instead I wanted to know more about him and what he was going to do. The same goes for Silverman’s character, Geraldine, who is Lou’s sister and a recovering alcoholic who delivers some serious truth-bombs to Margot. One of the most memorable lines in the films comes from Geraldine when she earnestly tells Margot, “Life has a gap in it…It just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it.” Damn straight.

Our man-candy, Luke (Kirby), didn’t do too bad of a job either; even though his character was a little clichéd – laid-back artist who doesn’t like to showcase his work, like, sooo dreamy right? – he still managed to be likeable and relatable. It was just Margot that I wanted to throttle. A little harsh, I know, but see it for yourself and you can decide. Or, just see it for the full-frontal naked scene with Michelle Williams. Whatever. In all, the movie had all the ingredients for a half-decent, enjoyable Indie film: great cast, well shot, interesting plot, “complex” characters etc., but it still failed to deliver anything with any heart or meaning. I predict that Take This Waltz will fall into art-house obscurity, or will be loved by hipster high-school girls. Shame.

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