Take This Waltz

I think in Take This Waltz writer and director Sarah Polley did somehow accomplish what she set out to do … making a film about emptiness and familiarity vs. passion … but it just missed the mark for me. I was actually a bit hesitant to watch this movie knowing the subject matter but I did want to give it a try because of the cast, including Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman. That didn’t do it for me either.
Williams plays Margot and Seth Rogen is her husband, Lou. Silverman is Geraldine, who I think is on Lou’s side of the family. Of all the characters Geraldine is the only one who provides a bit of honesty and realism about herself and the people around her and I did like Silverman’s performance.
There is also Luke Kirby who as Daniel brings to light what the characters, mainly Margot, think they’re lacking in life.
Daniel is introduced pretty early on in the film, but Polley also spends a good deal of time focusing on the relationship dynamic between Lou and Margot. That focus continues to build throughout the film, but I found the message about their relationship to be inconsistent. Overall, because of Margot’s interest in Daniel, I thought it would be that she is clearly the only one unhappy in her marriage to Lou . Sometimes that’s the case and she is the bad guy of the two, other times it’s Lou and then at times they both seem in love and happy — but definitely in their own way. Their inside jokes and habits around the house are charming, but I did have a hard time believing it all.
That is actually the main problem I had with this film. If you’re going to tell a story that clearly comes from some level of realism and experience, I find that it has to be believable and as a viewer I want to relate to it on some level.
Yes, it’s a movie and not actually real, but since Take This Waltz was very stripped down in the way of focusing so heavily on characters’ emotions I thought I would be drawn it a bit more and be able to understand where they’re coming from. I am normally a fan of Williams and Rogen, but I think in the end they were not right for these roles. It seemed like they were trying too hard, even though Williams mastered the role of a somewhat similar character in Blue Valentine. (See that one, for sure).
Acting aside, I think another important flaw here is the buried message of the film. The contrast between familiarity and passion can be seen in Margot and Lou, but I don’t like how Polley avoids having them outwardly acknowledging their problems. I think it’s clear to Lou that Margot is interested in Daniel, but he doesn’t acknowledge that either. Are they too familiar with each other to care? What does Margot want? Lou, Daniel, or to be alone? The film presents all those questions, but no clear answer.
Of course those answers would be subjective for each viewer, but Polley did not create enough connection with the characters in the film for me to get there.
I enjoyed the cinematography, music and style of the film as well as the overall idea of what the story could be, but all the chapters just did not come together.


One thought on “Take This Waltz

  1. Right again. [although] Blue Valentine had that extra-creep-out factor of Gosling with a greasy, weird hair situation. Two other ones that go great together: My Sister's Sister & Safety Not Guaranteed.

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