- Running time:
- 116 minutes
- Michelle Williams -
- Seth Rogen -
- Luke Kirby -
- Sarah Silverman -
- Sarah Polley
- Overall User Rating:
- (1 rating)
Take ThisWaltz (** out of four; rated R; opens Friday in select cities) and shove it.
A tale of a married woman's restless yearning, with Michelle Williams heading a strong cast, sounds like a winning proposition. The actress who brought profound authenticity and nuance to lead roles in My Week With Marilyn and Blue Valentine would seem an inspired choice.
But Williams is hampered by her character's limitations. What results is a mannered tale of an immature, empty vessel. Her co-stars also come off as ciphers. The film's self-consciously arty vibe obfuscates what should have been a human tale of a troubled woman seeking to fill a void in her life. Instead, it feels forced and exasperating.
This is all the more disappointing since it was written and directed by Sarah Polley, whose directorial debut was 2006's Away From Her, a wonderfully evocative tale of a woman with Alzheimer's.
Williams stars as Margot, married for five years to Lou (Seth Rogen), a good-natured cookbook author. They have a playful relationship that becomes strained after Margot's chance meeting with the handsome Daniel (Luke Kirby).
Daniel and Margot meet on an airplane — unaware that they are neighbors — where she confesses to him that she's deeply afraid of plane connections. "I think I may get lost and may rot and die," she says dramatically. "I'm afraid of wondering if I'll miss it. I don't like being in between things. I'm afraid of being afraid."
These words, nearly the first exchange they share, should have been Daniel's first clue that he isn't dealing with a woman of sound mind. But he is so slick in his seduction that it's hard to tell if he's merely a smooth operator or besotted with Margot. We're supposed to believe the latter because they share a cab after that emotionally naked flight and take turns flirtatiously blowing a dangling pin in the back seat. But the scene comes off as stilted and silly instead of sexy or carefree.
Presumably, the erotic charge between Margot and Daniel is intensified by their initial restraint. But they lack chemistry, and a montage of their inventive couplings comes off more comical than impassioned. A big part of the problem is that Margot seems closer to 8 than 28.
The film's only saving grace is its lovely, detailed depiction of its setting — Toronto, a city that Canadian director Polley captures in an almost mystically romantic light.