When: Thursday, 9 August - Wednesday, 26 September
Where: Various Cinemas, Auckland
How much: varies
Take This Waltz, the second feature film by Canadian writer and director Sarah Polley, is a powerful and absorbing love story about attraction and the choices we make in the pursuit of happiness.
The film revolves around Margot (Michelle Williams), a freelance writer in her late 20s who has an air of melancholy about her. She and Lou, played by a rather grown up and sensitive Seth Rogen, have been married five years. Theyíre happy even if in a more comfortable and cuddly kind of way than a passionate and impulsive one.
Then Margot meets Daniel (Luke Kirby) on a work trip and they are instantly attracted to one another. When Daniel turns out to be her neighbour, Margot and he begin to steal moments alone together. But Margot feels caught between her attraction to Daniel and her fondness for her husband. Her indecisiveness sees her alternate between being standoffish, playful, flirtatious and curt. As she says to Daniel: ďIím afraid of wondering if Iíll miss out. I donít like being in between things.Ē
The plot is simple but does not suffer for it. The other predominent character is Louís sister Geraldine (Sarah Silverman), a recovering alcoholic who provides moments of much needed humour amidst the intensity. But even her addiction bears parallels with Margotís journey. Just as Geraldine wonders if she will fall off the wagon, Michelle worries whether she can stop herself from hurting Lou and ruining their marriage.
Take This Waltz is very much a sensory experience. Itís beautifully shot and the rich textures of the everyday are celebrated throughout. The lingering focus on such things as the aromatic dishes Lou cooks, the sweltering heat of the Toronto summer, the colourful houses and the tree-lined streets subtlely points to the heightened sense of awareness that desire triggers.
There are moments of self-consciousness but just when you think the film might revert to clichť or melodrama, it pulls back. Sarah Polley, aided by her exceptionally talented actors, is an expert at translating the modern dilemma of what it means to be in a fulfilling relationship. Whether Margot makes the right choice to stay or go is for the viewer to interpret, leaving you to ponder your own beliefs and past relationships. This is a slowburning film and one that, if youíre anything like me, will leave you quietly pensive for days.