Movie review: 'Take This Waltz' a tricky dance

All three leads brilliantly convey the subtle nuances of characters caught in the various stages of a love triangle.

Noman Ansari July 17, 2012

Director Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz is a beautiful, colourful and surreal looking film. In this character study, Margot, who is played by the very talented Michelle Williams, is a little cute, a little depressed, a little immature, and hugely restless, in her relationship with her loving husband, Lou Rubin (Seth Rogan).

There is also their neighbour Daniel (Luke Kirby), with whom Margot finds instant attraction, and the two of them begin a drawn out courtship, where they, for the longest time, do everything but initiate physical contact. Films exploring female sexuality aren’t a new concept, but where Take This Waltz differs from most is in the third wheel of its love triangle, Lou Rubin, actually being the most likable character on display.

There are plenty of sweet amusing scenes led by Rubin, who quite adorably dotes on his wife. Margot too recognises how good Rubin is to her and finds her edginess difficult to explain. In one particularly hilarious scene, Margot tearfully screams at Rubin, trying to explain her confusing feelings to her husband, after which the stunned Rubin sounding like a typically clueless male, asks very slowly, “What the hell are you talking about?” Meanwhile Daniel, who pulls a rickshaw, is constantly on the prowl when it comes to Margot, and when he can’t seduce her body, he very effectively seduces her mind.

The acting in this emotionally self-aware film is quite good. All three leads brilliantly convey the subtle nuances of characters caught in the various stages of a love triangle. Historically speaking, both Seth Rogan and Michelle Williams are especially good at playing characters with some interesting idiosyncrasies, and they are absorbing to watch here on screen.

The film is weakest in its third act which, while admirable for sticking to its guns, also feels a bit hurried in pushing across its message. But what is also enjoyable about this comedy/drama is how effectively it avoids the standard formula. It has to be said that Take This Waltz is a compelling dance, with just the right touch of the unconventional.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, July 15th, 2012.


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