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)
2 Days in New York Directed and written by Julie Delpy
Synopsis: This deliriously witty follow-up to 2 Days in Paris finds Marion (writer/director Julie Delpy) living a comfortable life in New York with her latest hipster boyfriend, Mingus (Chris Rock, brilliantly playing it straight), and their two young kids from prior relationships. A riotous comedy of cultural errors ensues when Marion’s totally unhinged, gleefully unfiltered family arrives from Paris to meet Mingus for the first time. Why I want to see it: Ahh, second chances. I missed this when it premiered at Sundance this year, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to see it during Tribeca. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a HUGE Julie Delpy fan from Before Sunrise/Before Sunset and the prequel to this one, 2 Days in Paris. I’m also coming around to the charms of Chris Rock; he is, after all, the first celebrity I ever met (email me, and I’ll share the story with you).
Free Samples Directed by Jay Gammill, written by Jim Beggarly
Synopsis: Jillian is having a bad day. She’s got a raging hangover, she’s starting to think dropping out of Stanford Law to become an artist wasn’t the best career move, and things are weird with her faraway fiancé. Can spending the day parked in an ice cream truck doling out samples—and a good dose of sass—to oddball Angelenos shake her out of her quarter-life crisis? Jess Weixler, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jason Ritter star in this quirky comedy. What I want to see this: Tatted Jason Ritter! Ice cream samples (wait is this channeling The Wackness?)! Twenty-somethings who think quarter-life crises are a real thing! An undisclosed role for Jesse Eisenberg!
Hysteria Directed by Tanya Wexler, written by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer
Synopsis: Set in 19th-century London at the peak of Victorian prudishness, this racy romantic comedy tells the surprising story of the birth of the electro-mechanical vibrator. A progressive young doctor (Hugh Dancy, Adam) has his hands full relieving the city’s affluent society women of their melancholy, until an accidental discovery electrifies their lives forever—and sends sparks flying between him and a feminist rabble-rouser (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Why I want to see this: Ooo, I’m familiar with this story on how the vibrator was actually discovered (though I won’t tell you how I heard ::giggle like a schoolgirl::) and it’s so interesting that they actually created a feature around this story. I have been waiting for something new from the very talented Hugh Dancy so this may just do the trick.
Take This Waltz Directed and written by Sarah Polley
Synopsis: Margot (Michelle Williams) and Lou (Seth Rogen) are happily married. Their life is thrown out of order when Margot falls for another man and is forced to choose between the comfort of the familiar and the excitement of the unknown. Writer-director Sarah Polley’s follow-up to her acclaimed film Away From Here is a quirky, uncommonly heartfelt look at the evolving nature of love and the difficulty of sustaining a relationship over time. Why I want to see this: I can’t help but be interested in a world, no matter that it is fictitious, in which Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen are married. Simple as that.
Your Sister’s Sister Directed and written by Lynn Shelton
Synopsis: Jack (Mark Duplass) hasn’t recovered from his brother’s death. His best friend—and late brother’s ex—Iris (Emily Blunt) sends him to her family’s isolated cabin for some quiet reflection, but complications, rivalries, and surprising revelations arise when both Iris and her heartbroken sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) end up at the cabin as well. Lynn Shelton’s long-awaited follow-up to Humpday heralds a graceful maturation of the reliably against-the-grain filmmaker. Why I want to see it: Yet another film I missed at Sundance. I really didn’t have any plans to see this movie but everywhere I went in Park City, I heard people talking about it and how great it was. That’s enough for me.