CATEGORIES Movie NewsToday, audiences have the ability to check out all the latest releases from the comfort of their own home. The world of indie film has especially benefited, giving viewers the chance to watch buzzed-about movies that can only afford to play in a handful of theaters. This week, Moviefone offers a special look at the world of indie cinema, with the release of "Take This Waltz."
"Take This Waltz" Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Luke Kirby Directed By: Sarah Polley
What's It About? Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen play Margot and Lou, a happily married young couple living a hip life in Toronto, Canada. For Lou, everything seems to be going perfectly, but during a weekend business trip, Margot meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), a handsome and witty artist, who just happens to be their next-door neighbor. "Take This Waltz" explores the complicated relationship that develops between the three individuals over the course of a sweltering summer.
What's the Verdict? Williams is, as always, fantastic, and the drama of troubled romance echoes her work in "Blue Valentine" and "Brokeback Mountain." As for Rogen, he continues the work he did in last year's "50/50" (to stretch himself as an actor), and the results are surprisingly positive. He brings his signature charm, but does it in a subtle way, turning the character of Lou into something genuinely sweet but heartbreaking. Also pleasantly surprising is Sarah Silverman, who plays Lou's sister, a recovering alcoholic and the movie's voice of reason. If you're used to Silverman's brand of ironic, vulgar comedy, you'll be impressed with the maturity she brings to her character, while still maintaining her usual wit.
For her second feature, writer-director Sarah Polley (who previously received an Oscar nomination for her freshman effort, "Away From Her") has crafted an undeniably indie romance. The movie is not flawless; the script can be very cloying and precious at times, with unnatural dialogue, and it runs just a little too long. But in spite of its flaws, the film is worth a viewing. Margot is, at times, completely unsympathetic, but that's a deliberate risk the movie takes. "Waltz" plays with both that heady feeling of meeting someone new, and also the pain that comes from realizing a long-term relationship has lost its passion. The movie is also not shy about its sensuality: Margot and Daniel do their best to not give into temptation, so the restrained intensity of their feelings only amplifies the sultry forbidden game they play.
In addition to a soundtrack headlined by Feist, the score by Jonathan Goldsmith is uniquely non-traditional, folksy and reminiscent of Jon Brion's work in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." However, the movie's secret weapon is cinematographer Luc Montpellier, who bathes each shot in a saturated warmth of summer colors. The world around you just looks different when you discover new love, and the filmmakers clearly wanted "Waltz" to have that feel. There are two especially memorable sequences that pull this off. The first involves Margot and Daniel riding the Scrambler, an amusement park ride that pushes their bodies closer together as it whips them around (with the whole sequence set to the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star"). The second is a secret session of night-swimming that turns into something of an underwater ballet.
Watch it At Home, Watch It In Theaters or Skip It? In spite of its flaws, you should still see it in theaters (that is, if it's playing near you). On a sensory level, the movie looks and sounds gorgeous. The visual presentation is so lush and vivid -- and perfect for a hot summer season -- that it should be viewed on as big a screen as possible. "Take This Waltz" is a true summer romance.
On Demand Available Online (iTunes, Amazon, Youtube, XBox) until August 6.
Available on Cable / Satellite until August 27. (Check for full listings.)
In Theaters "Take This Waltz" will be playing in 58 theaters across the country, including New York City, L.A., Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami and more. (Check for full listings | Showtimes)
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Gallery | 'Take This Waltz' Reviews
Linda Barnard, Toronto StarRogen handles himself very well in a dramatic role, portraying cuckolded Lou as baffled player in Margot's cri de coeur. And talented Williams is every director's dream... It's a delicious backdrop for a play of love and lust that evolves on patches of steamy pavement.
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily NewsIt's a shame Polley drowns the vitally mundane in so much indie quirk, because her committed leads work hard to create a touching familiarity together... She overemphasizes every point, both verbally and visually, when her subject matter really calls for gentle delicacy.
Alison Wilmore, MovieLine"Take This Waltz," which was also written by Polley, has moments of overdetermined dialogue... It's stronger in its moments of wordless sensuality, from its opening scene in which Margot makes muffins, the camera drifting to her bare feet and then her face as she leans it against the over glass.
Melissa Anderson, Village VoiceYet where Polley's debut benefited from the solidity of the Alice Munro story on which it was adapted, "Take This Waltz" wobbles at times with the writer-director's own credibility-straining choices... But there are enough unexpected delights, such as repurposing "Video Killed the Radio Star" during a critical moment between Margot and Daniel, to keep us interested in their drawn-out, teasing, tantalizing courtship.
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.comFeaturing the reliably terrific Michelle Williams in one of her best roles, as a hipsterized, slightly unhinged woman who got married too young and meets a mysterious stranger who makes her regret it, "Take This Waltz" is frank, erotic, often very funny and sometimes startling, with an underlying tragic sensibility.
Justin Chang, VarietyGiven how quickly movie characters tend to fall into bed with one another, it's especially rewarding to see writer-director Sarah Polley wring maximum tension, humor and emotional complexity from a young wife's crisis of conscience in "Take This Waltz."