Take This Waltz
It brilliantly showed how the grass is not as green as you may think, however, in that big achievement it tripped on small things along the way.
Take This Waltz plays out more like a fantasy than the traditional romantic comedy it is based upon. This sophomore feature from director Sarah Polley contains an outcome that leaves you with something to chew on, but it’s attempts in quirkiness results in awkwardness. It brilliantly showed how the grass is not as green as you may think, however, in that big achievement it tripped on small things along the way.
On this particular day, everything seems to be falling in place for Margot (Michelle Williams). While on a writing assignment for a tour guide brochure, Margot has a run in with a man named Daniel (Luke Kirby). On her flight back home the two happen to not only have the same flight, but actually sit next to one another. The two openly flirt with each other in the time they spend in the air.
Margot mentions that she has a fear of connections in airports; because there is too much rushing, not knowing, and concern if you are going to make it your flight. She admits she does not like to be between things. Or the very thought of wondering if she is going to miss things. Even though she is just talking about terminals in airports, there is an obvious metaphor between relationships in her life.
After the plane lands they share a taxi only to find out he lives right across the street from her. Just when things could not get any better for the two, we find out that she has been holding back something very important. She explains that she is married to which he replies, “That’s too bad”, as he walks across the street to his house.
The very next scene we see her waking up next to her husband Lou Rubin (Seth Rogen). The two indulge in pillow talk, like most people who are in a serious relationship do. When his entire family comes over for a visit she is very engaged with everyone, especially with his sister Geraldine (Sarah Silverman). We see no reason as to why she would want leave her happy marriage with Lou, yet we see her watching across the street in search for Daniel.
All along you wonder (and for good reason if you go back to the airport metaphor) if Margot is just tired of the routine in her life with Lou. Geraldine validates the suspicion while talking to Margot and some friends about how depressing marriage life can be when you start to think about trading it all in for something new. Someone wisely states that, “New things get old”, but that seemed to go in one ear and out the other of Margot. Which is a shame because that simple line is the most important line of the film. It is also the best scene, the display of naked female bodies, both of younger and older, to bluntly represent new and old.
The beginning of Take This Waltz does not try to distance itself from a typical romantic comedy. It is not until the third act that the film ditches the contrived plot to something a bit substantial. One thing they nailed though was the ending, which mostly makes up for the dreadful start.
On more than one occasion the dialog felt off. In times when characters were in awkward parts in conversation the dialog felt forced in an unnatural way. It was like they were trying too hard at times to be awkward and quirky. Luke Kirby seemed like he was reading his lines out loud instead of acting them out. Even the talented Michelle Williams felt off at times. But aside from that, she played the part of a happily married woman who was deeply confused and depressed well.
Take This Waltz had flashes of greatness but they vanished when outlandish coincidences and bizarre dialog arise. Therefore, the film felt very inconsistent; going back and forth between oddly executed conversations, to spot-on pillow talk, making it difficult not to have mixed feelings for it. A line in the film nearly sums up my thoughts on the film as a whole, “Life has a big gap in it. You don’t try to fill it like a fucking lunatic.”