It’s been a while since I’ve been to the movies, so when I found myself with some free time on Sunday, I veered away from summer action hero blockbusters, drawn to something more quiet, intimate and moving. And that was Sarah Polley’s film Take This Waltz.
Beautifully written (Polley wrote and directed), shot and acted, Take This Waltz is an up close and personal look at the shifts of love, relationships and desire. Margot (Michelle Williams) meets Daniel (Luke Kirby) during a work-related trip and the connection is immediate. But Margot is married to Lou (Seth Rogen). Turns out, Daniel lives across the street. Margot and Lou have a close, playful relationship and Margot loves him and his family, in particular her sister-in-law Geraldine and her niece Tony. But Margot is feeling like there’s something missing. And Margot and Daniel can’t stop thinking about each other.
What struck me first about this film was the quality of the light and colour: golden light and gorgeous primaries and secondaries, both in the set and costumes, as well as a lovely retro feel – the old century home apartments, the vintage dresses, the Scrambler amusement park ride in a disco setting. But above all, the view we get is extremely intimate, from the close-ups where we see emotions play to conversations (one in a women’s shower room) to scenes of desire expressed (with words and with bodies).
Polley has a lovely cast: Williams’ Margot is vulnerable, searching and sensuous, Rogen gives a sweet, playful and hesitant feel to Lou, while Kirby’s Daniel is dreamy, puck-ish and sexy, and Silverman’s Geraldine is tough on the outside, but extremely fragile with a great irreverent sense of humour. And Lost Girl and Republic of Doyle fans will recognize Graham Abbey, who plays Geraldine’s lovely, supportive husband James.
Thematically, Take This Waltz made me think about the nature of relationships – and how no matter how much you may love someone and want to grow old with them, relationships are organic – and therefore changing – things. At what point does the nature of a relationship outside of marriage become cheating? The age-old question of what makes for love and desire – and how one tells them apart – is turned over and around. And, as Geraldine says: “Life has a gap in it… it just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it.” Of course, the question then becomes where is the gap located? In the relationship, in our loved one or in ourselves?
Here’s the trailer. Go see this.