Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Take this Waltz is an Interesting Dance About Someone in a Committed Relationship Falling in Love with Someone New

Take this Waltz (3 1/2 out of 5 Stars)
Directed and Written by Sarah Polley (Away from Her)
Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, and Sarah Silverman

When you are in a great relationship for a long time, how do you know that meeting someone new will not change things.  In relationships there is often this restless feeling, a seven year itch.  You meet someone new who sparks something inside you that you have missed for years, your head and your heart start to wander, and wonder.  There are these new exciting feeling back in your world, one's that bring back new intimacies  and those intense emotional and sexual feelings.

Waltz explores all of these emotional struggles.  Margot (Williams) meets Daniel (Kirby) while she writing a piece on a reenactment; he teases her she yells back.  Margot and Daniel end up sitting next to each other on the plane ride home, and start to find this instant chemistry within their conversation.  As the two of them get into the cab together and Margot gives her address Daniel realizes they live right across the street from one another.  When they get out of the cab, after one of those magical experiences, Margot quickly utters "I am married."  Margot walks into her home where she kisses her husband Lou (Rogen).  The two have an incredibly happy marriage, Lou is in Margot's words "the best guy" but Margot and Daniel continue to meet and explore their chemistry.

Most people will know director/writer Sarah Polley from her acting; she starred in The Sweet Hereafter, Go, and the remake of Dawn of the Dead.  While Polley may be a more familiar face on screen, she has becomes one of the best writer/directors working today.  Polley's first film Away from Her was the most intimate look at the way Alzheimer's disease affects not only the patient but the person with whom they have been married.  This film scored Pollery her first Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

In Waltz Polley continues to shows audiences she she great breadth in understanding the different levels of intimacy in relationships.  Polley's dialogue and script are the strength.  The conversations, and interactions each of these characters is some of the most real/honest dialogue.  Polley does not compromise her own writing for the sake of cliche, nor does she make you feel as though these characters are contrived.  Polley is one of those director/writers whose actions transcend beautifully to the screen.  Polley knows her characters well, and whether we are watching Margot realize their is something more at an amusement park, watching Dan walk out of the party losing all hope, or seeing Lou deal with the pain of Margot's words towards the end. Each of moments makes you feel as though you are living them.

Williams performance is the key to the anguish, and pain; she is one of the best working actresses today.   Throughout this film you may empathize with her, feel bad for her, or think she is a terrible person.  Margot is a complicated character with so many levels left to peel away, and Williams captures each of them brilliantly. Williams is a natural talent and even when she was playing real life persona Marilyn Monroe there was always genuine pieces of her within the role.

While Rogen tends to typically play himself in most of his films, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, this is the first time I have seen him step outside of his own persona, and challenge himself to play something more than just himself.  Rogen's Lou is a good guy, who pours cold water on Margot every time she takes a shower hoping that at 80 when he tells her that their shower was not malfunctioning, that it was him.  Lou is that kind of guy, lovable.

There is something beautiful yet painful about the realizations people have about love, and Margot's journey towards the end of the film.  Has Margot's thought of a fling made sense.  Sarah Silverman's character Geraldine acts as a more stark parallel to Margot. Geraldine is a recovering alcoholic; she knows she will never recover.  The question then is can Margot make sense of her own future, and if so will it ever be what she imagines?  Polley's words enact a mediation on restlessness, proving things may never be perfect.

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