‘Take This Waltz'
A disturbing pattern is developing in the acclaimed career of three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams, who is making a dubious habit of delivering superlative performances in films that frankly don't deserve her.
After winning an Academy Award nod for her credible portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in last year's “My Week with Marilyn,” Williams reverts back to playing a marital malcontent with “Take This Waltz,” actress/filmmaker Sarah Polley's unsatisfactory follow-up to her heartrending 2006 Alzheimer's saga “Away from Her.”
Like director/co-writer Derek Cianfrance's 2010 drama “Blue Valentine,” for which Williams earned her previous Oscar nomination, “Take This Waltz” seeks to reveal truths about marriage, attraction and relationships while never, ever letting you forget that it's an Important Independent Film. The contrived storytelling, clunky metaphors and self-consciously writerly dialogue dim the flashes of truthfulness that Williams and co-stars Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman, who bring likable humor without overt comedy to their dramatic roles, manage to achieve.
Set in Toronto, the film follows Margot (Williams), a comfortably married freelance writer who travels to the Canadian version of Colonial Williamsburg to retool the tourist trap's website. There she finds herself strongly drawn to handsome sightseer Daniel (Luke Kirby), who conveniently turns out to be her new neighbor, an aspiring artist who makes enough money as a rickshaw operator to live in a trendy loft in their bohemian neighborhood.
Just across the street, Margot shares a faux-shabby house with her good-guy hubby Lou (Rogen), a cookbook author distracted by the looming deadline for his new tome devoted to ways of preparing chicken. Margot considers Lou's sister Geraldine (Silverman), a recovering alcoholic, one of her best friends, and she and her husband have an affectionate relationship.
But after five years of marriage, Lou and Margot share little emotional intimacy and even less sexual warmth. In the too-bright heat of summer, she becomes increasingly attracted to Daniel.
Despite a few indelible moments, “Take This Waltz” stumbles along to its obvious conclusion without ever realizing the potential of its cast, filmmaker or story.
Bonus features: Making-of featurette, red carpet interviews and trailer.
— Brandy McDonnell