Margot (Michelle Williams) and Daniel (Luke Kirby) meet on a plane and discover they are neighbours. This would be the perfect romance, but Margot is married to Lou (Seth Rogen), which makes her feelings for Daniel rather complicated. Margot struggles with the choices she has made in her life, as she explores her new relationship.
Michelle Williams is making something of a name for herself for acting in films about the dissolution of relationships. Take This Waltz may not be as traumatic to watch as Blue Valentine, but it is hard to deny that some of the ideas are similar. Williams plays Margot as a woman who is tiring of her mundane life with her husband; they seems to be on completely different pages, and the arrival of Daniel into her life throws all her martial issues into stark relief. Williams allows Margot to be flattered and enthralled by this new man in her life, but stay faithful to her husband. Margot is mostly confused, but she also has some rather unattractive qualities that alienate the audience slightly, but make the character and her situation more real. There is no doubt that this is a strong performance from Williams, and the fact that her character is not totally likeable, immature and not always right makes this even stronger.
Seth Rogen takes a step back from being a larger than life character, and plays Lou as a man who totally inhabits his own world, with little thought for those outside it. Lou is not a bad person, he is just absorbed in his work, which frustrates his wife and exacerbates their issues. Rogen makes Lou likeable but distant and it is this performance that allows for Daniel to step into Lou’s relationship with his wife. Luke Kirby is sweet and warm as Daniel, he is also relentless and plays the character as though he is addicted to Margot. This makes for some sweet scenes as the two get to know one another, but leaves the audience wondering whether the two can actually sustain a relationship over time.
Take This Waltz could easily be a rom-com, but director Sarah Polley delves deeper and instead of playing for laughs, she examines Margot’s relationship with the two men in her life; one that has been with her for years, but the shine has gone from their lives together, and the new man in her life, who takes utter delight in spending time with her in any capacity. Polley also examines her female protaganist, and portrays Margot as an immature woman who is happy to flit from one thing to another when life is less than exciting. Polley portrays Toronto as quaint and slightly dream like, which is incredibly pretty, and contrasts with the dark emotions that plague the central characters. It is in the finale 20 minutes, however, that the film begins to lose its grip on the story; once Margot makes her decision and we are treated to a montage set to Leonard Cohen’s Take This Waltz, the film wanders off into a grey area that does not seem to fit with the rest of the movie. This also serves to take away some of the mystery that was created throughout, and as such lets the rest of the film down.
In all, Take This Waltz is an interesting examination of an immature woman. The film is bright and sweet and the love triangle is gracefully handled, but the ending of the film lets it down and undoes a lot of the good work put in by director Sarah Polley.