Take This Waltz

Art & Culture


I did think for a while that I was once again cast in the role of the small boy in The Emperor's New Clothes, but The Guardian has to come to my rescue, and now I can proclaim my dislike for this film and know that I am not alone.
I saw the film at Toronto last year, which, coincidentally is where it is set. Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen play a young married couple living in what seems like friendly suburban harmony. But one day she meets a guy on a plane, and they have a thing, and then he turns out to live round the corner from her, and then the thing becomes more of a thing, and poor old Seth whose main crime is not be unavailable, looks as though he's going to be left in the lurch.
All responses to actors and the characters they play are subjective, and my response to Michelle Williams in this film was one of annoyance. She seemed like a spoilt child, and not a very appealing one at that. Her attraction to the blandly anonymous Luke Kirby (who pulls a rickshaw for a living!) has no real edge to it, since he is no more interesting than she is. They waft around in a miasma of self-preoccupied indulgence, and the rest of us are left thinking, so what?
It's not that I feel the same as Anna Karenina's husband that all couples should stay together irrespective of the consequences, it's just that I need to like and care about the characters in this kind of drama, and that's simply not possible here. I know Williams can be and has been a fantastic actress (Brokeback Mountain,and as Marilyn Monroe), but she has a little girl face, and when she pouts and looks sorry for herself, I fail to be entranced.
Take This Waltz strikes me as a film which lacks a wider perspective, and having to failed to achieve that, also fails to win the sympathy of its audience by making us care about the narrow focus it chooses to follow.

By Phil Raby

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