Actress turned director Sarah Polley follows the superb Away from Her with another emotionally wise adult drama.
Away from Her probed the difficulties faced by a lifelong-married couple when the wife succumbs to Alzheimer’s; bittersweet romantic drama Take This Waltz explores what happens to a young couple when the wife succumbs to desire.
She’s Michelle Williams’s aspiring writer Margot, who finds her cosy but unexciting marriage to cookery book author Lou (Seth Rogen) threatened by her irresistible attraction to handsome new neighbour Daniel (Luke Kirby). Will an affair fulfil or unravel her?
Telling this story, Polley strains a little too hard at time to freight her tale with symbolically significant details – needy Margot is afraid of connections at airports; homely Lou writes cookbooks exclusively about chicken; virile Daniel pulls a rickshaw.
Elsewhere, she gets things absolutely right. The gorgeous photography gives summertime Toronto a steamy, sexy glow and the music (including the Leonard Cohen song that provides the title and The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star, which accompanies a heady ride on a fairground waltzer) adds to the film’s air of yearning.
Above all, Polley gets terrific performances from her cast. Kirby is slyly seductive; Rogen underplays impressively in a rare non-comic role, as does fellow comedian Sarah Silverman as Lou’s recovering alcoholic sister; but Williams outdoes them all and makes her heartsick heroine all too believable, if not always sympathetic.
Released on Blu-ray, DVD & EST by StudioCanal Home Entertainment on Monday 7th January.
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