Monday, December 31, 2012

Take This Waltz (2011)

Sarah Polley’s latest was made for the Instagram generation. With it’s combination of rich, bold colors, manufactured shabby-chic production design, and outfits that could be from Anthropologie or H&M, the movie looks just like a snapshot from a friend’s Facebook feed, or maybe a “Visit Canada!” ad campaign. 

That wouldn’t be such a big deal if it weren’t for the serious subject matter. Michelle Williams plays Margot, a young, unhappy married woman. Her husband, Lou (Seth Rogen) is a cook working on an all-chicken cookbook. They have a playful relationship, but every time she says, “I love you,” it’s like she’s dipping her toe in a bath to see if it’s hot or cold. She falls for a neighbor named Daniel (Luke Kirby) and, in the end, gives in to temptation, destroying her marriage but at least finding happiness. 

Or not. 

Take This Waltz is truthful in the sense that sometimes the things we want won't really make us any happier. The problem, though, is that the deck comes stacked so high against Margot there’s no suspense one way or the other. Every incident pushes her further into Daniel’s arms, but I was never convinced that she was all that miserable with Lou in the first place. When she slides into one of her gloomy moods, it seems to happen against her will–the story calls for it, so it must be so. 

Well-acted though it may be, and distractingly nice to look at, the story just didn’t work for me.

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