I hated Take This Waltz.
It struck a nerve. It made me feel something — but not necessarily what I wanted to feel.
Does that make it a bad film? Probably not. Other things might, though.
But I’ll get to that. First things first:It opens promisingly enough with Margot (Michelle Williams) baking to a cool song. “Ooh she’s wearing cute denim cut offs!” the hipster part of my brain told me. “This is gonna be good!”
However, Waltz soon descends into strange and largely melancholy territory.
For someone who is afraid of the “in-between”, Margot spends a lot of time there after a series of chance encounters with a “familiar” looking guy, Daniel (Luke Kirby), who ends up living across the road.
She’s happily married to dependable Lou (Seth Rogen) but terribly unsure of herself and therefore terribly drawn to Daniel, who pursues her relentlessly over the course of the sweaty Toronto Summer, often quite literally stalking her (he’s a bit of a creep, really.)
Is the grass greener on the other side? According to writer/director Sarah Polley, we’ll never know. “To me, the only truth is in ambiguity.”
And she does at times explore these concepts rather well but the film certainly isn’t helped by the fact that every character happens to be extremely irritating.
And is it just me, or is Michelle Williams a little too good at playing an annoying character? I’ve never wanted to slap her more but no-one can deny that the girl can act. The expanse of emotion contained within that tiny body is nothing short of astounding.
At nearly two hours, Waltz feels longer.
And it’s uncomfortable to watch for a few reasons. The offbeat humour seems often to hit the wrong note — perhaps on purpose? Also, I dislike awkward moments and there are plenty of those.
But perhaps nothing aggravates so much as the fact that I relate to Margot more than I care to admit.
Neediness, emotional instability and childishness often plague those confronted with a deep emotional attachment. And long-term monogamy can turn even the most stable and independent of us into blubbering, baby-talking idiots, desperately grasping at coping mechanisms to keep the passion alive, whether it be through childishness like Margot or detachment and denial like Lou.
I’ll leave you with this “comforting” thought from Polley: “Is anything really enough?”
Okay, I’m gonna go watch a Disney movie now.