Movie Review: “Take This Waltz” – A Dance With a Few Missteps

Written by Emily McWilliams July 15, 2012

In her latest film, Sarah Polley examines the complications that come along with relationships, commitment, and desire.  This is Polley’s second feature as director and writer (following 2006’s “Away from Her”, adapted from a short story that earned Polley an Oscar nomination for screenwriting). With “Take This Waltz”, Polley gracefully directs cast members Michelle Williams, Seth Rogan, Sarah Silverman, and Luke Kirby through the original and, at times, provactive script. Polley experiments with camera and editing techniques to create a warm composition for many of the shots, as she finds her own style and voice in the filmmaking process.  The result is a beautifully intricate mosaic of a film that assures audience members of Polley’s talent and presence in the Canadian and international filmmaking scene.

A Realistic Examination of Love and Desire

The film’s central character, Margot, is portrayed with a genuine mix of uncertainity and sweetness by Michelle Williams.  On a flight from New Brunswick, Margot meets Daniel (Luke Kirby) and when they split a cab home from the airport, they discover that they are neighbors.  Margot is happily married to Lou (played by Seth Rogan) but can’t deny the feelings of attraction she has for Daniel.  These feelings grow stronger as the two continue to run into each other, and eventually start to deliberately spend time together.  With the appearance of Daniel in her life, Margot begins to question her happiness and the life of complacency she leads and whether it is the right choice for her.

Rogan and Silverman Expand Their Roles

As mentioned previously, this is a beautiful film that incorporates a variety of interesting shots and techniques to portray an unusual story about love.  Matching the creative aesthetic of the film were the wonderful performances by the cast.  Seth Rogan and Sarah Silverman especially stood out as they broke away from their rated “R” comedy routines and explored characters that were more dimensional and emotionally expressive.

Dialogue and Pacing Disrupt This Dance

“Take This Waltz” falters however with the pacing and dialogue of the film.  Dialogue between the characters stalled awkwardly at times and felt a little too mundane to have been kept in the film.  As well, there were some sequences where characters had long monologues in the middle of their conversations that seemed melodramatic and unnatural.  As far as pacing, the film’s story took awhile to pick up in the beginning as it settled into the main plot.  With a film like “Take This Waltz” which requires a lot of attention to the dialogue and relationships between the characters, and not so much on the action, these issues were more noticeable than they would have been in a more traditional romantic comedy.

“Take This Waltz” is a lovely film by one of Canada’s own and is worth a try if you want a non-cliched look at love and relationships.  The film is definitely for people who are willing to be patient with the plot and character development, but the wait will be worth it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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