My first movie of TFF 2012 was Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, a movie on my list to see. When I first heard of this movie, I have to say, I was curious of a world where Michelle (Margot) and Seth (Lou) would be married (how could someone not be??). (SPOILERS) Apparently that world full of baby talk, awkward embraces, even awkwarder sex, and cutesy games of devising ways to kill each other (I’m not kidding). What’s left is a relationship that lacks intimacy, passion and wonder, and more closely resembles a best friendship than a marriage. Though Margot has a sort of peace and happiness in this relationship, a product of her seemingly habit of settling in life as well as her career. In a way, this has also caused this 28-year old to remain in a sort of perpetual state of adolescence. She has a childlike quality that is evident throughout the movie. Williams plays this perfectly, walking the fine line between being annoying and artificial.
“Are you okay? Like generally? I feel like you’re in a state of restlessness. A permanent one.”
Early on we learn that Margot hates to be “between things”, “afraid of being afraid” as she puts it. Enters Daniel (Luke Kirby). Her neighbor. He is the catalyst for her desire to venture outside of her marriage, this uncertainty that creates for her what she has always feared. On one hand, she has a fondness for the life she has with Lou that has nurtured a sort of innocence. She knows this life inside and out. But with Daniel there is electricity, sexual desire, and a threat of the unknown that appeals to her. And so she begins this dance between him and her husband that begins a small journey for her to discover more about herself. A dance that is accentuated by the director’s choice of focusing her shots on Margot’s footwear; Margot is seen many times exchanging her sneakers or flip flogs akin to her husband for high heels on her rendezvouses with Daniel.
I loved Luke Kirby in this role as Daniel. He plays it with just the right blend of slight sensuality and caring accessibility. Williams and Kirby interesting creates their own world of wonder between their characters without physical contact, as their characters never touch but still nuture this deep connect between one another. When he reaches out to touch her for the first time, a small grab of her ankle in an important and beautiful scene in a pool, she pulls back, and we starts this dance all over again.
“What is new, becomes old.”
Daniel is first to realize that this little world they have created between them can’t be sustained and ends it. He has, however, already changed her. She is no longer content in her relationship with her husband. She has come to realize that their relationship will never have the same passion, that they never really talk, and that Lou is perfectly fine with that. It is all these things that causes her to decide to make the leap toward Daniel and choose him to be her “life dance partner”.
I’m really torn between whether I liked the last fifteen or so minutes of the movie or not and whether I think it was necessary for the story. We are given a montage of Margot and Daniel engaging in a highly sexual relationship, often in threesomes. It ends with them on the couch watching TV as old marriage couples do, a scene that mirrors an earlier one between Margot and Lou. The movie does play on the idea of new relationships losing their luster through the supporting character’s experiences and dialogue. And the end of the film is maybe meant to drive home this point. The movie ends with her alone on a carnival ride she once shared with Daniel, seemingly embracing being alone after the excitement that Daniel represents wanes and her comfortable life with Lou is no longer an option. Embracing being alone for probably the first time in her life.
I really thought that this movie would be the big dramatic moment for Seth Rogen that would have been interesting to see. Unfortunately, Seth was Seth with his signature laugh, comical retorts and overall cluelessness. As a matter of fact, Sarah Silverman, who plays Seth’s sister, was also just Sarah - bash and unapolegetic. The real stars of WIlliams and Kirby who are pitch perfect pieces of casting. My Grade: B+
Take a look at the trailer to get a glimpse of the film:
Post-Tribeca To Do List:
1. Have a Sarah Polly movie marathon (i.e. Away From Her, My Life Without Me)
2. Curse Michelle Williams for her acting brillance
3. Keep an eye our for the next Luke Kirby film project (which is actually The Samaritan)