Being a lover of movies means I get excited about films all the time, but every now and again a film comes along and intensifies my love for great writing, beautiful directing, and exceptional character development and acting. Written and directed by Sarah Polley, Take This Waltz is a film I've loved in theory since I first saw the trailer, and it completely delivered – even if it didn't go the way I had expected it to.
The film opens with a chance encounter between Margot (Michelle Williams) and Daniel (Luke Kirby). Their chemistry is immediate and there is every indication that this is the start of a love story…until Margot admits to Daniel that she is married. Cue Lou (Seth Rogan), Margot's husband, and things go from complicated to heart breaking as Margot realises more and more that she is falling for Daniel and there is nothing she can do about it.
Without ruining this for anyone wishing to see it, I will just say that Take This Waltz is not a love story. It's not a rom-com, nor is it an optimistic portrayal of love and life – but that is what makes it so fascinating.
There is something distinctly summer throughout the scenes. The way the sun infiltrates the frame like a shiny beacon of hope. The constant presence of a hot kitchen, Margot's hair matted on her forehead, scenes at the beach, an old rotating fan in the bedroom, and perfect hot summer nights. The summer atmosphere is so alluring in the current Sydney climate.
The scenes with Lou and Margot in their little bubble were some of my favourite, as though the audience is suddenly privy to the inner workings and in-jokes of a relationship in a way that you should never experience outside of your own couple bubble. The familiarity and silliness is juxtaposed so eloquently with the scenes between Margot and Daniel that are so heavy with unresolved sexual tension.
The contrast between old and new relationships is probably the biggest message in the film, most obviously stated by Lou's sister, Geraldine (played so brilliantly by Sarah Silverman). It is human nature to seek something new and exciting, to constantly be challenging what we come to expect and the routine of human existence. I love that Sarah Polley explores this concept of 'the grass is always greener' so honestly and without sugar coating it.
I found that Take This Waltz encouraged me to be hopeful and optimistic, as though I was watching a beautiful love story, but also torn between Margot's choices (just as she was). When reality set it in at the end of the film, I felt choked up and slightly betrayed, but after the initial shock wore off, I realised that's one of the things I liked most about it.
Take This Waltz is coming to the end of its theatrical release, but I'd love to know if you've seen it and what you thought. If you have no idea what I'm even talking about, here is the trailer (and definitely catch it on DVD!):
Images – 1, 2, 3