Take This Waltz (15)

Film

Drama

Take This Waltz

Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in Take This Waltz Photograph: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Thu Jun 28 2012

Albert Camus had a line about love. He said that we lie to ourselves twice about those we love: the first time to their advantage; the second time to their disadvantage. In this impressive relationship drama from Canadian actress-turned-director Sarah Polley, Michelle Williams is telling both lies at once. She is Margot, a struggling 28-year-old Toronto writer who is falling out of love with her husband Lou (Seth Rogen). He’s the kindest, gentlest man she’s ever met – perfect husband material five years ago. Now, nice is suffocating. When she meets artist Daniel (Luke Kirby), he is everything Lou isn’t. Margot convinces herself that Daniel could be The One.

Polley is clearly fascinated by the way people behave in long-term relationships. In her debut, ‘Away From Her’ (directed when she was just 28), she looked at the effects of Alzheimer’s on a long-married couple. In ‘Take This Waltz’ Margot and Lou are the kind of hand-holding, cute couple that friends and family assume are for keeps. He writes chicken cookbooks (a bit of a heavy-handed metaphor this: chicken being the blandest of meats). They’ve slipped into the tics and habits of cosy relationships: babytalking and playfighting (stuff that would be excruciating if anyone else overheard).

The acting is terrific. Rogen brings a breakable sweetness to Lou that he’s never shown before. Sarah Silverman is perfect as his brittle, recovering alcoholic sister – she’s the only one who spots the storm coming in Lou’s marriage. As for Williams, I could watch her for hours. There’s an extraordinary scene where she takes Daniel on her favourite fairground ride and loses herself completely to its thrills and spills. This, you sense, is how she wants love to feel. But that intensity can’t last. It’s a subtle, complex portrait of arrested development: there’s something unfinished about Margot. She’s a pretty girl who never grew up.

‘Take This Waltz’ is not quite the knockout that fans of ‘Away From Her’ might hope for; there’s a few too many flounces and false notes. The scene in which Margot and Daniel meet is fussy and implausible. Polley obviously thinks we see too much lady-flesh on screen for titillation (she’s right). So she inserts a clumsy nude scene in a gym changing room – where women of all shapes and sizes take showers.

Still, this is a hard-headed, generous film about love. Not that it’s got any definite answers. Should Margot stay with Lou? Will she be happier with Daniel? Or, to quote a writer more cynical than Camus, is love ‘a temporary insanity curable by marriage’?

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Aug 17, 2012

Duration:

116 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman

Director:

Sarah Polley

Screenwriter:

Sarah Polley

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

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LiveReviews|14
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Cassius

I think most people seemed to get the wrong end of the stick about the "endearing quirkiness" interaction between Rogen and Williams. These are meant to be uncomfortable and forced to show how the characters are acting and hiding in their relationship. Sure, there are a few badly considered scenes, but the acting is so strong from both leads and the 'grass is greener' syndrome message is original and particularly relevant in societies with such high divorce rates as ours.

Liz

This is really a brilliant film but obviously not for everyone judging from the comments posted. Yes it's uncomfortable to watch in places but that's part of it's charm. Masterfully constructed, brilliantly acted and beautifully shot. Not for the emotionally unintelligent or those looking for bog standard light entertainment. It's not pretensions, it's just clever. Refreshing

Ms Fusspot

Fans of Seth Rogen's 'bad taste' period are likely to be disappointed by his doing proper acting in this, I wonder if this may account to some extent for the disappointed reviewers here. I thought this film was complete magic, incredible performances from everyone, utterly gripping, and really real. Of course it is not James Bond in plot or action but what would you expect..... And if you have ever, in a long term relationship, wondered about what it would feel like to trade in for shiny and new, this is food for thought indeed.

Ms Fusspot

Fans of Seth Rogen's 'bad taste' period are likely to be disappointed by his doing proper acting in this, I wonder if this may account to some extent for the disappointed reviewers here. I thought this film was complete magic, incredible performances from everyone, utterly gripping, and really real. Of course it is not James Bond in plot or action but what would you expect..... And if you have ever, in a long term relationship, wondered about what it would feel like to trade in for shiny and new, this is food for thought indeed.

Matteo

I saw this film for free and wanted my money back. The initial set up is cringeworthy, poorly constructed and embarrassing. First film I have walked out of in many years.

MikeT

Painful. In the words of Jesse from The Fast Show, "a load of old b0110cks".

Francesca

Is this film about chicken cooking compulsive obsessive disorder? Or the difficulties of marriage between autistic patients? I did not get it and walked out before the worst happened. I miss my 11.4 quid though.

yuck!

Two brilliant scenes: swimming pool and fairground ride. And that's pretty much it. The rest of it is fairly depressing, with Seth Rogen's being the only sympathetic character in the whole thing. Sarah Silverman's character was really annoying, and I'm starting to get sick of the 'weird things that couples do' as a shorthand for a long-standing relationship. Seemed to work really well in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I've not really seen anyone use it successfully since. Agree that the threesomes were utterly incongruous, but the worst thing about this is the scene where Luke Kirby character is telling Michelle Williams' character what he was 'doing to her' - any guy who uses the word 'enter' like that just sounds like a creepy perv... yuck! Made me slightly sick.

Annanda

Worth missing! Lots of cringe making scenes. Both relationships were completely unbelievable. Williams's character seemed to be a case of arrested development, circa 8 years old, and we just wanted to slap her much of the time.

Justin Berkovi

Williams is NOT a great actress. I don't for the life of me understand why people 'gush' at her wonderful 'acting'. She is too immature to impart any sense of gravitas to ANY role she's ever had and again in this film the performance is bizarre - almost like she's had the best mentors in acting and is in an acting class. She is a not a natural performer and I find all her roles grating. As for this quite odd film I really don't know quite what to think. I found the twee moments between Rogen and Williams not cringeable because they were soporific vile baby voice nonsense but because they were so completely unnatural. Ultimately a considered film but so completely flawed in so many areas it just falls apart. The director still has a long way to go to construct something that has proper character development, story and realism.

Peter

Yes Michelle Williams is a fantastic actress, but that's the only thing that kept me in my seat for this film that is all candy floss with no stick. One scene after another was meant to provide pathos, uplift or endearing quirkiness, but there was none of the hard work needed to provide believable characters I cared about. Most of the scenes were just SO predictable - the swimming scene, the waltziter scene, the husband being nice to the other guy because he doesn't know what's going on scene. When the formula is changed it's problematical. For example, in the inevitable 'now they're bonking because they've finally got together scene' two threesomes are introduced with no sense of how this changes our perception of the characters. A superficial attempt to grab our attention, just like the rest of the film. Not just ignorably bad, but irritating bad.

Johnosullivan@

Williams is the American Huppert..So brave in her choice of roles.. essentially her character is selfish cow.. but you somehow grow to like her through aWilliams astonishing performance. Some scenes jarred,Silverman seemed to be playing herself and the joy of sex interlude was baffling But well worth seeing for Michelles masterclass and i swear she even got a performance out of her haircut

Beccie

Michelle Williams is TO WATCH. Her transparent face and body language is a treat, Better than an Oscar! There is honesty, reality and such a lot to think about as well as challenges for the audience. Both men have jobs that need almost no human contact. The cafe scene with the unconsumed cocktail is a Harry-Met-Sally look- alike improvement. The aquarobics scene is hysterical. And the fantasy at the end leaves you rewriting and deconstructing the plot. A film club discussion must. Downside is the inarticulate dialogue that needed subtitles.