Take this Waltz – Film Review

Michelle Williams plays Margot an idealistic woman who has been married to Seth Rogan’s chicken chef Lou for five years. After bumping into their neighbour Daniel (Luke Kirby), a struggling artist who pulls a rickshaw by day, Margot starts to find her self in love with two men and considering cheating on her husband.

Take This Waltz is troubling me greatly. There are so many positive things I could say about it yet somehow I am struggling to say that I liked it or found the film enjoyable. I’ve been putting off this review for days but the film is finally out so I have no more time to wait. Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this.

The acting, writing, and directing are all absolutely superb. The film is an almost tactile experience. Every shot is gorgeous and I felt as though I could reach out and touch the film itself. The sets seem so real, the characters so authentic, and the emotions were so raw as to almost have a physical presence in the room. With every smile I felt a little warmth inside, with every frown I felt sad, and with every pained look of love between star-crossed lovers my heart twisted around itself.

Take This Waltz is a finely crafted emotional drama. It feels so real, so raw, and so honest. And yet…

I had the same trouble with the similarly realistic but pained Blue Valentine and Like Crazy. These are all films which show the painful reality of falling in love, with all the scuffed edges and imperfections that can bring. Maybe I am looking more for escapism from films that present the perfect ending to a romantic situation with only superficial trouble along the way. Polley also gets bonus points for a long shot showing a relationship developing over several months all in one room and involving multiple threesomes.

In many ways the fact that Take This Waltz was such a painful watch is to its credit. Sarah Polley is a wonderful writer-director that taps into the human core of a story. No one in the film says anything that couldn’t be said out of a film setting and none of the characters behave in an unrealistic way.

If looked at objectively Take This Waltz is a little masterpiece and well deserving of four stars:

But taking into account subjectivity and the fact that Margot irritated the hell out of me I can’t go above three:

I can’t stress enough how good this film is, but at the same time can’t deny how frustrated it made me.