Saturday, 30 June 2012

Take This Waltz, dir/wr. Sarah Polley, st. Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Luke Kirby

Where do you draw the line between contentment and coasting? Polley's incisive and clever film explores this no-mans-land of marital ennui with real depth and a keen observation for relationship minutiae. Williams plays Margot, a freelance writer who lives on a street bursting with foliage and birdsong. Inside, seemingly perpetually lit by cozy afternoon sun, her hard-working husband Lou (Rogen) perpetually slaves over the stove, working on a cookbook. A chance meeting with Daniel (Kirby) on a plane leads to the even chancier discovery that he is Margot's neighbour, and a relationship begins. As to what kind of relationship it is, is ultimately unclear. Like Margot, Polley's script advances and retreats, sowing seeds of possibility that Daniel might be Margot's soulmate one minute, dismissing it as a trivial fancy the next. Winningly, the film is low on the kind of affair-hystrionics that bury so many dramas of this kind; Williams gives Margot a real sense of the kind of confused, sprawling emotion that rings so true when we meet people who make our hearts flutter. It's also surprisingly objective, painting both husband and wife in turns as attentive and sometimes a little dim at failing to read each other's flare-like signals of discomfort. Relationships can take years to manage, nurture and cultivate, but only a second to walk away from; Take This Waltz asks us to consider the point at which that care and effort becomes delusion, blinding us from seeking out something more elsewhere. It's discomforting indeed, but Polley imposes no judgement over her characters; however, to see them, as we see ourselves, make a decision and live by it, only serves to highlight what an inexact science love is.