Watched May 27, 2012
AJ Wiley’s review:
In the opening shot of Take This Waltz, Margot (Michelle Williams) is in the foreground as her husband Lou (Seth Rogen) walks past her, into the distance, light overtaking the screen. He's fading away, fading from her. In a way, Take This Waltz is like a cheerier version of Williams' Blue Valentine; it can be joyous, and has some moments of great humor, but at its core, it's a sad portrait of the dissolution of a marriage. Margot and Lou's relationship seems so normal. It doesn't seem like there's anything wrong. But then, I suppose that's the way it usually is; almost imperceptibly, one person grows away from the other, and there's nothing either one can do about it. It's no one's fault, it just happens. Sarah Polley's film proceeds with an air of sad inevitability, but her screenplay is so rich and her characters so complex that it never feels rote.
Williams gives yet another wonderful performance, this one bright and "quirky" (for lack of a better word), and Seth Rogen does what might be the best work of his career thus far. I didn't particularly care for Luke Kirby as Daniel, the artistic rickshaw driver Margot becomes attracted to, but it's a testament to how strong the film is that such a major aspect being relatively weak didn't bother me all that much. In fact, it actually kind of works for his arc. Oh, and I have to mention Sarah Silverman. I've always liked her, but I have never seen her do anything so removed from her usual shtick, so free of artifice. As Lou's alcoholic sister, she gives one of the most grounded performances in the movie.
There's one scene that perfectly summarizes the movie. Williams, Silverman, and Jennifer Podemski are in a communal shower after a water aerobics class. They are completely nude, as is everyone else. Most of the others are much older, and the film's depiction of their naked bodies is almost startling in its unerotic matter-of-factness. The younger girls are talking about their marriages; Podemski says, "Sometimes I just want something new, you know? New things are shiny." One of the older women turns to her and says, "New things get old." Love, like life, is cyclical. We may not always like how we respond to these cycles, but oftentimes, there's no going back.