“Take This Waltz” or “Whaaaaaaaaaat the fuck?” by Caitlin McGrane

Posted on August 14, 2012

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You guys, it’s been a pretty shitty week. I’m no longer travelling to Canada, I’m pretty sure I upset some really lovely people in the process, and I just want to dive under my duvet.

Want to know what made it a whole lot more interesting (and by interesting I mean pretty fucking intense)? Take This Waltz. It’s a mindfuck in every sense of the word. You know when a film just seems to resonate SO MUCH with your own life that you think holy shitballs? Well that’s what happened to me. It was rough. Anyway, moving onto a review. I just thought you ought to know that so you don’t go and see it, and then think ‘uh, ok, steady on now’.

Seth Rogen smiling for once. How now!

It opens with Margot (Michelle Williams) on a work trip doing some travel writing in a beautiful part of Canada (another reason it hit me so hard, but where were we…). She gets dragged into part of a historical re-enactment that is both painfully awkward and rather sweet, and she gets kinda heckled by a guy. In the way of ALL these things, they end up sitting together on a plane, getting a cab together, only to discover that he lives across the road. And, you guys, she’s married. Plus she’s totally giving him her ‘fuck me’ eyes, which we all know means she’s not thinking about her husband – amirite?

They flirt, they hang out alone and do cute things like sitting in the park, and getting up early to bump into each other. Things start to get really complex after they go out for a drink one afternoon and she says, ‘I want to know what you’d do to me’. From here on in, it all starts to get very messy as Margot is torn between her sweet, caring husband Lou (Seth Rogen, who is actually both very witty, and gracefully serious) and the hunky Daniel (Luke Kirby).

Colour palette for this film: warm oranges, just FYI.

What made this film so brilliant was its portrayal of married life. I’ve commented on this before (see Last Night), but if a marriage seems faultless on screen, I want to scream. Partly because it’s just annoying, but also because the implication of portraying impossible standards of marriage is that both men and women can be fruitlessly striving for perfection. There is a wonderful moment when Lou’s sister Geraldine (Sarah Silverman) delivers the devastating truth that life will always have a gap, and it is pointless trying continually to fill it. That was the moment when it seemed to fall into place for me.

However, it was not without its down-sides. For starters, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE???? Who lives a life that quirky? These were the questions that accompanied the thought-soup that was occupying my noggin-box. Margot was sometimes really fucking annoying and needy, like a child. And Daniel could also be a bit of a creep. The end was slightly peculiar and a little cheesy, and I wasn’t really expecting it. It’s like the end of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King when there are like 21972895647286 endings, plus the really annoying one where they’re all hooting with fake laughter; there were many, many times where the film should have ended, but didn’t. And that pissed me off. But maybe that’s because I wanted to get the fuck out of the cinema and think about my life choices.

If you’ve been affected by cheating, either emotional or physical, then I would encourage you not to go see this film alone. Because it will hurt. But do see it, because it was eye-opening, even for the people with whom I went, who had no idea what was racing through my mind as I sat there in the dark, trying not to see Margot’s point-of-view quite so clearly.

Take This Waltz is currently in limited release.

For more of Caitlin’s movie reviews click here.

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Posted in: Movies