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Take This Waltz - Review

Take This Waltz

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

WRITER-director Sarah Polley’s latest is a cynical look at love that’s as intriguing but ultimately flawed as its central character.

Michelle Williams takes the lead as Margot, a happily married aspiring writer living in Toronto, who starts to fall for her neighbour, Daniel (Luke Kirby) after a couple of chance encounters.

The more she entertains the idea of an affair and the excitement this would bring, however, the more the cracks begin to appear in her marriage (to Seth Rogen’s Lou).

While certainly having some observant things to say about the evolving nature of relationships, Polley’s film often feels too artsy for its own good and less authentic than, say, Blue Valentine, which trod a vaguely similar path.

Indeed, certain moments of the film feel over-directed to the point of pulling you out of the drama (never more so than during Rogen’s big emotional scene), while at others the dialogue feels written as opposed to genuine and spoken. This gives rise to accusations of pretension.

And while films like Blue Valentine grip emotionally, Take This Waltz ultimately leaves you with no one to care about and is arguably more depressing as a result.

It’s a shame for there is also a lot to admire as well, not least in the performances or Polley’s consistent ability to be explicit and frank, thereby surprising at various points.

Of the cast, Williams is once more on great form in another demanding role… and she doesn’t court audience sympathy, rather lives the part, flaws and all.

Rogen is good, too, if under-used in a role that takes him well outside of his comfort zone, but Kirby is terrific as the charismatic object of Margot’s affection, mixing sexuality with his own brand of vulnerability and even selfishness. He even gets one of the film’s more jaw-dropping moments in delivering the kind of bar-room seduction speech that would make even Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally blush!

But for all of its positives, Polley’s film eventually succumbs to its flaws. It therefore has to go down as a failure, albeit an honourable one and one that’s still worth seeing.

Read our interview with Luke Kirby

Certificate: 15
Running time: 116mins
UK Release Date: August 17, 2012