Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 2012

Take This Waltz

Take This Waltz

Synopsis

Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby star in a witty but deceptively brutal exploration of an unfolding love triangle

About

When married twenty-something web copywriter Margot (Michelle Williams) meets rickshaw driver and struggling creative Daniel (Luke Kirby) on a work trip, it's pretty obvious there is chemistry between them, the kind of chemistry that might be enjoyed pretty innocently on an excursion from home where you thought there was no chance of seeing that person again. Unfortunately, it turns out that they live on the same street.

The whole thing about love triangles is that one person is genuinely interested in two people simultaneously, a point too often missed in more glib explorations of the problem where it's normally all too obvious which path should be taken. In Take This Waltz, we're invited to stare unblinkingly as three people's emotional innards are exposed and dissected, though not without a lightness of touch enabling plenty of laughs amidst the psychological trauma.

The key to Take This Waltz is that the comic elements are never at war with the character development, as writer-director Sarah Polley and her fine cast take care to develop a narrative that neither makes excuses nor condemns the characters' choices, steering clear of both special pleading and easy moralising. The marriage which is sufficiently cosy that William's character has begun to restlessly succumb to fresh temptations is not portrayed as a stultifying Bovaryesque slog. Nor is the prospective affair represented as a dangerous amour fou with a Heathcliff-style one true love. Everyone involved is recognisably human, flawed, and by turns likeable and frustrating. The characters are able to make jokes without turning the film into a comedy, and suffer without turning the film into a tragedy.

If you disliked the film, it would be an easy route to take issue with the lifestyles of the people involved, as if there are no lifestyles like this, but would also betray a troubling lack of imagination. It's a pretty class-and-age specific milieu, of course, but in an era where too much choice is a problem for many in forming long-term relationships, Take This Waltz is not only valid, but timely, and - for some viewers - will register as painfully on-the-nose.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams
  • Director: Sarah Polley
  • Writer: Sarah Polley
  • Producer: Sarah Polley, Susan Cavan
  • Photographer: Luc Montpellier
  • Composer: Jonathan Goldsmith

In a nutshell

This is finely-judged filmmaking from a writing and directing talent to watch. That Sarah Polley once starred in Zack Snyder's Dawn Of The Dead and has gone on to make films like this only makes her that bit more likeable.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Our Kind of Traitor

    Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis and Naomie Harris star in this British spy thriller, adapted from the novel by John le Carré (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy).

  • Film4

    I Killed My Mother

    French Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan stars in his directorial debut, a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama about the bonds between mother and son.

  • Film4

    This Is 40 on Film4

    (2012) 124 mins 15 Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann star in writer-director-producer Judd Apatow's relationship comedy-drama, a 'sort of sequel' to his second hit feature, Knocked Up.

  • Film4

    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Film4

    The first installment from Cassandra Clare's bestselling YA franchise starring Lily Collins.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Berlin 2016: Hail, Caesar!

    Film4 Site Editor Michael Leader reports on the Berlinale's opening film, written and directed by Joel & Ethan Coen... Since it follows the Coen Brothers' essayistic dive into 1960s Greenwich V

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Channel 4 announces major increase to Film4 funding

    Film4 funding has increased to a record £25m in 2016, with major new deals announced with Fox Searchlight and FP Films. Film4 will be backing new work from Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew H

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share