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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Michelle Williams
Seth Rogen
Luke Kirby.
Directors
Sarah Polley.
Screenwriters
Sarah Polley.
Running Time
116 minutes

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Take This Waltz
High infidelity


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Plot
Copywriter Margot (Williams), 28, has been happily married to Lou (Rogen), an aspiring cookbook writer, for almost five years. But when handsome artist Daniel (Kirby) moves in across the street in suburban Toronto, Margot finds herself drawn to him, threatening the placid stability of her marriage.


Review
Take This Waltz
With her remarkable first feature, Away From Her, 28 year-old Sarah Polley tackled the thorny subject of Alzheimer’s with sensitivity, courage and skill, receiving a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination for her efforts. Now, at 33, the erstwhile actress turns her attention to a similarly sensitive subject, a woman’s flirtation with adultery, and a second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Original Screenplay, seems likely.

The revelation that Margot is married comes after we have witnessed her first encounter with Daniel, the attraction between them immediate and obvious. When it transpires that Daniel lives right across the street from Margot, it seems as though fate is playing a particularly cruel trick, testing the stability of her marriage by causing her to question it. From this simple catalyst, Polley weaves an extraordinarily assured and subtle drama, by turns funny, erotic, whimsical and heart-rending, but always truthful, involving and emotionally charged.

Take This Waltz is a welcome departure from typical treatments of infidelity, which tend to establish variants of marital dissatisfaction before trusting an audience to accept an extra-marital yearning. One of Polley’s great strengths is that she is resistant to cliché and shortcutting, striving to create a film which removes any trace of artifice.

As with any film about relationships, casting is essential, and Polley has backed a winner in Michelle Williams, who delivers perhaps her most complex, nuanced and keenly observed performance yet. As a result, Luke Kirby and Seth Rogen have their work cut out for them keeping up, and one of the few instances in which Polley stumbles is when she elects to frame one of Rogen’s key scenes as a jump-cut acting showcase which finds the comic actor’s skills sorely lacking. For the most part, however, Polley is in complete command of sensitive, often difficult material, which should provoke admiration and discussion in equal measure.


Verdict
Sarah Polley’s second film is a masterfully painted portrait of an ordinary marriage under threat, dominated by a central performance of exquisite subtlety and observation.


Reviewed by David Hughes

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Take This Waltz
Empire Star Rating

Accurate if not uplifting portrayal of modern love.

Empire mention that it's about adultery. It's not really, as she never actually cheats on Seth's character. She dumps him first. For me this film was spooky in its truth. There is something in this film that I think most people who have experienced long term relationships, will understand. The complexities of the ageing relationship versus the new and exciting. The way women grasp for security and attention, whilst men strive for stability and growth. The struggle to maintain freshness in a m... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gingerchris at 00:25, 15 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Take This Waltz

Good review. The only thing I'd disagree about it is the criticism of the Seth Rogen scene. I was actually surprised at how moving it was. Rogen's always been able to make me laugh but I never really pictured him in anything but comedy so I was pleasantly surprised to see him displaying a broader range. Four stars is about right for me. ... More

Posted by Harry Tuttle at 19:47, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Take This Waltz

As the film title is named after Leonard Cohen’s song, it’s a bit weak until the end when the actual song is played to understand why it’s used. Following her Oscar-nominated drama Away From Her, the great Canadian actress Sarah Polley, who has worked with the likes of Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) and Vincenzo Natali (Splice), continues her directorial career with a magnificent drama about broken relationships. The story revolves around 28-year-old freelance writer Margot (Michelle Will... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 19:10, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


Take this waltz and shove it

Surely this must be an editing error, I see 4 stars there and it's barely worth one. With an awful screenplay, awful characters and awful acting it's any ones guess how this could be worthy of an oscar nomination for anything. Luckily I never paid to see this tripe or a stern letter to Polley would be written (which would make a better screenplay than this rubbish). If anything waltz away from this! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by J_BUltimatum at 17:35, 18 August 2012 | Report This Post


I adored this movie and the more time I've spent thinking about it, the more I want to watch it again. I found Polley's character study far more engaging than most other films that have popped up this year, Williams is on top form playing a woman who makes choices that we may not agree with but understand 100%. I cried watching the movie, it's an emotional winner. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by odddaze at 16:24, 13 August 2012 | Report This Post


Take this waltz and never come back

How in the world could anyone give this self-indulgent tripe 4/5. I saw a press screening of this 2 weeks ago and have been anxiously waiting to see what mark you would give this film and I am shocked. Sarah Polley has crafted a central character that clearly could and does not exist in the real world. The dialogue is appalling and at times jarring. The only good thing in this film is sarah silverman. It is the 2nd worst film of th e year and how Take This Waltz and Oscar can be used n the same ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by conconman at 13:41, 13 August 2012 | Report This Post


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