Take This Waltz

imageWhen a couple start dating, the most typical situation is one that includes not being completely at ease, trying too hard and not showing a true reflection of your personality. But if the couple get along well enough then the relationship will likely mature into one that largely involves natural enjoyment, serious understandings and complex issues. This mature stage is expected to last longer for it to be said that a proper (if not conventional) relationship exists or has existed. With Take This Waltz, its degree of success and how it evolves is best explained with this commonly held view of a relationship’s progression; the film starts off without much sincerity but it blossoms quickly enough into a highly engaging story full of both laughter and a uniquely insightful comprehension of the deep complications a relationship can include.

In accurately detailing a woman’s desire and observations, Canadian writer and director Sarah Polley brings a much needed female perspective to the male-dominated film industry. She’s also done an excellent job in ensuring you won’t find a weak performance here. Set in Canada, Michelle Williams’ character Margot meets Daniel (played by Luke Kirby) on a trip and they flirt back and forth as they coincidentally fly home together. This flirting continues as they share a taxi to the same suburb in Toronto that they again, both coincidentally live in. It’s only interrupted when they arrive outside Margot’s home and she reveals that she’s married. But it turns out that Daniel actually lives across the road from Margot. Enter husband Lou Rubin (Seth Rogen), who is incredibly (and ultimately, unbelievably) nice. They like to interact using silly voices, childlike mannerisms and absurd conversations (nonchalantly explaining how they’d gruesomely hurt each other, for example). This is the basis of their relationship, which Margot decides is not enough as soon as she starts exploring her fondness for Daniel. He is a man who constantly smoulders, giving off a confident vibe of sexual adventurous; something she can’t find in Rubin, making her vulnerable at times when she wants to open herself up to him in this way.

It looks like a beautiful summer for the course of this film, but everyone’s time is overwhelmingly spent in the cool shade, typifying the preferred laid-back state of the main cast. Along with the primarily dream-pop soundtrack, unique looking houses and cool clothes are embraced throughout, giving the movie an authentically quirky feel. Furthermore on this point, no central character in the film has a normal job. Not one of them has to go to the office. Sean Penn’s character Cheyenne, in This Must Be The Place, claims that nobody seems to work anymore, and this certainly seems to be upheld by the writer and director here. For all the realism involved, it’s as if Polley can’t be bothered wasting time on individual employment, even though it takes up such a huge chunk of all our lives. Instead, Polley seems wholly committed to analysing the interwoven layers of love and lust.

Polley’s directing is second to none in a few scenes particularly. Rubin’s alcoholic sister Geraldine, played by comedian Sarah Silverman, is good friends with Margot. While they use the communal showers with another friend after a pool workout, they discuss the attractions of new relationships. The scene ends with Geraldine subtly gaining an understanding of how these appealing qualities can’t remain forever; when she quietly observes old women’s deteriorating bodies; this is a poignant example of this change. This is the essence of this film that plays throughout; it’s not exactly uplifting – more of a fluctuation between happy and melancholic – a realism that smartly comments on the pros and cons of all mature relationships.

7/10