REVIEW: Take This Waltz

6 08 2012

Michelle Williams, fresh off a Best Actress nomination for “My Week With Marilyn,” disappointingly dials down the charm back down to “Blue Valentine” levels for her latest film, “Take This Waltz.”  It’s a return, though not necessarily a regression, to the familiarly frumpy, downtrodden women who prefer to express their thoughts by gazing at the ground rather than through words.  Williams is a fantastic actress, and she pulls it off so well time after time – but I think it’s time to start expecting more from her.

Her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe was far more than a caricature or an impersonation; it was spirited, sexy, and oh so soulful.  It was definitely outside Williams’ comfort zone, yet she totally nailed it!  I think “My Week With Marilyn” is hardly her limit, and the longer she dwells in her pre-Marilyn state of mind, the more disappoint her post-Marilyn films are going to feel.   (Yes, “Take This Waltz” was filmed first, but virtually no one saw it first.)

Perhaps it’s less the archetype I’m frustrated with and more her character in Sarah Polley’s sauntering drama.  As a sullen Toronto-dweller bored in her marriage, she begins to ponder an affair with the literal boy next door … well, down the street.  Daniel, a shyly passionate artist as well as rickshaw for money, is the man who will indulge her deepest sensual passions and go through the Kama Sutra with her.

But she’s married to the sweet, good-hearted poultry chef Lou, played with good-natured charm by Seth Rogen.  He has moments where perhaps he seems content to let the spark go out of their marriage, although it’s always clear that he’s the man we should be rooting for because he does care for her and will always love her deeply.

The decision is overwrought and strung out over nearly two hours when it could have easily been compressed to 90 minutes.  Sarah Polley’s camera does dazzle more than the usual quiet indie drama.  However, the story those images serves to complement is little more than a segment from “He’s Just Not That Into You” that fashions itself to be a drama.  C+ 



3 responses

7 08 2012

I did not realize Sarah Polley Directed, all I’d known her from before was the Dawn of the Dead Remake. In any case this movie seemed interesting from the trailers but a bit convoluted at the same time. I do like Rogen better in charming roles like this though, I wish he’d take on more of them

7 08 2012

Good review Marshall. This film had me annoyed by where I thought Polley was originally going with this story, but totally had me change my mind somewhere in the middle when she seemed to flip her mind, as well as the story itself. Great performances all around, but this definitely wasn’t as much of a hard-hitting indie as I was expecting.

23 10 2012
New DVD Releases This Week – 10/23/12 — ANOMALOUS MATERIAL

[…] I just watched this movie today, and I’m still trying to figure it out. I didn’t love it like I had hoped, but at the same time it’s a good film. Without looking very deep, this is a movie about contemporary relationships, what’s asked of the different type of relationships today, and the choices that we make that effect where said relationships go. I do feel that there are several deeper meanings available here, but I haven’t had the time to really digest and dig to a depth needed to really discover more. At the very least you get to watch a terrific performance from Michelle Williams, which should be a surprise to nobody. Seth Rogen was okay, but wasn’t really given much to work with. This is definitely a title I would like to start up a conversation on with people, and a movie that I want to re-visit in the next couple weeks. Our friend Marshall has a review here. […]

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