Criticism, Movies, Oscar Race

TIFF11 day two: Take This Waltz

0 Comments 10 September 2011

Michelle Williams,Seth Rogen,Sarah Polley,Marriage,Comedy,Bittersweet

Williams and Rogen get out of step

 A TIFF Discovery!

Michelle Williams follows up her brilliant Blue Valentine performance with another emotionally rich, clear-eyed and candid portrait. She plays Margot, a young Toronto wife who’s having trouble sticking with her marriage to Lou (a touching Seth Rogen) — especially after she gets a whiff of the rickshaw driving artist Daniel (Luke Kirby) who lives across the street. Written and directed by Canadian Sarah Polley (Away From Her), this is a sexy, funny-sad women’s movie about fidelity and individual identity and what we often don’t talk about when we talk about marriage. It pulls no punches, yet radiates empathy and humor. Sarah Silverman steps in as Margot’s alcoholic sister-in law who calls the pretty pixie on her shit — basically saying that marriage, or coupling, is not a solution to a personal feeling of emptiness.  For me, the hard-won truth echoes a line from my novel, Playdate, when the philandering stay-at-home-dad Lance considers walking out on his wife and life and starting over but realizes that he would probably end up under a different roof with a different woman and maybe even a new cat but essentially recreate the same mess if he doesn’t own up to who he really is in his current marriage.

Polley has created a touching, funny, original film — the inane scene in the water aerobics class is just one in a series of refreshing set pieces. It’s a Toronto International Film Festival find that’s currently on the market — and while this may not be the kind of role that earns Williams another Oscar nomination, she certainly holds the movie together without one sticky false emotion. Men and women are bound to have different reactions to this film — even sisters may disagree — but the discussion it inspires will be revealing about the depth of the film, and the emotional state of the viewers.  Definitely, take this waltz.

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