Freelance writer Margot (Michelle Williams) meets bewitching artist Daniel (Luke Kirby) at a Nova Scotia living museum, where he eggs her on to whip the town “adulterer.” (She is not amused.) Then they just happen to sit next to each other on the flight home, where they make semisuggestive small talk. But only after they share a cab back to Margot’s suburban Toronto neighborhood do they realize, coincidence of coincidences, that they live across the street from each other. Clearly, the universe is trying to tell them something, but there’s one fairly major stumbling block: Margot is five-years married—happily, she thinks—to cookbook author Lou (Seth Rogen).
A lesser film might have quickly plopped Margot and Daniel into bed, while turning Lou into a comic-figure cuckold. But writer-director Sarah Polley, following up her acclaimed 2006 feature, Away from Her, favors a much more sensitive and measured approach to charting Margot’s slow recognition that her affections lie elsewhere. There’s so much that’s right about the film: the Altman-like hustle and bustle of its party scenes, a ravishingly erotic “what I’d do to you in bed” monologue, the most pathos-infused use of “Video Killed the Radio Star” ever. Yet Polley’s dialogue is often unbearably clumsy—Margot admits to having problems making “connections” (she means airplane connections… No, really). And the troubling turns the story takes, which are meant as a rebuke to happily-ever-after stereotypes, are much more interesting in conception than they are in execution.
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