Thursday, August 2, 2012

Take This Waltz (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
Take This Waltz

Actor / Director Sarah Polley strikes again with a new film "Take This Waltz" a new indie drama that is stripped of artifice to reveal the human heart, both beating and arrested, and shown just as is in life : fragile fruit.

Michelle Williams stars as Margot, a pixieish waif that seems made of sand and stars. As she spins in space with rocking quivering motions, she embodies dramatic echoes of Sissy Spacek and Mia Farrow. Shuttered in her brightly hued house that resembles a hallway on "Sesame Street," Margot flutters to and fro like an albino goldfish in a domestic aquarium and we soon discover why. 

Margot is married to the passive aggressive and all too laid back Lou, a small time cookbook author, played with an understated and hangdog precision by none other than the Judd  Apatow comedian Seth Rogen. Margot sincerely loves Lou, and its true they share much in common (including some violent wordplay: "I love you so much I could gouge your eyes out", etc.). The trouble in twenty something land is that things get a little boring. Lou doesn't really care if he makes love or not, and if he does it invariably has to be accompanied by mushy baby talk or mild masochistic role play. Seth Rogen portrays Lou like a mushy off-white Muppet or an indifferent Linus from Charlie Brown. His sideways dimple of a mouth and gentle apprehensive eyes either wait for reward or punishment and it's all the same to him. In a way, he is a bit like a well mannered Ted. Then all at once, Lou's box-like body becomes immobile and unfeeling once he is behind the stove and cooking. Mr. Personality.

Comedienne Sarah Silverman also appears as a struggling mom in A.A. But her character exists for some quasi-comic relief. Although her character is partly serious, she is still foul and crude.

Margot runs into the soft spoken but confident Daniel (Luke Kirby) who is an artist on a plane. Some shy analytical banter ensues between them which is slightly reminiscent of Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset". There is a smidgen about books and the nature of time as you might expect. But the real intrigue is in Michelle Williams' face as it frequently quivers and turns red under Luke Kirby's Frank Langella-like glare. Williams is so hyped up she is always in motion. She often seems all wound up by springs of far away hopes. Margot is a nervous dandelion.
Daniel, for his part, is a mixture of bohemian loner and Henry Miller. But is Daniel the answer?

Indeed, the ultra bright primary colors that make up the film's design, trap these characters in a romantic Romper Room of stunted growth vexations and desires of indulgence where there are no easy time outs or no cookie of consolation at its end. 

Margot, a sensitive plant, is blown about by the retro winds of Disco and carnal decadence. One gets the feeling that even the ideal Daniel will become complacent and lackluster. But Margot is willing to gamble. 

"Take This Waltz" is a film where adolescent hearts are crushed into a vermillion spice, but life, inexorably, moves forever forward. This is not a film  that argues the positive or negative in relationships, or that bothers much about adultery or duplicity. It is merely life projected, be it simple or complex.

Write Ian at

No comments: