A long lasting relationship almost automatically leads to great intimacy, a strong bond and plenty of common experiences. With time initial excitement is often replaced by a certain routine, naturalness or even boredom. These changes aren’t rarely only realized when a new potential partner appears and the once familiar sparks begin to fly again. To act on these emotions is usually taboo and thus unsolvable questions present themselves: Which of the two do I want to be with from now on? Do I want excitement, risk and passion or do I want trust and security?
Those are the questions Margot asks herself in Take this Waltz.
Margot (Michelle Williams) is 28 and has been married to Lou (Seth Rogen) for 5 years. The couple seems happy, they are very close, get along without words and often play fight about who loves whom more. But then Margot meets Daniel (Luke Kirby). The artist awakens an unequivocal longing in her and thus Margot begins questioning her marriage. She thought she was happy, but those tingles Daniel awakens in her haven’t occurred when she was with Lou for a while. Because Daniel is her direct neighbour, she can’t really just forget about him and to make it even harder: the young man doesn’t try to hide his interest in her. First she hides in her marriage cocoon, but then Margot secretly meets Daniel first for coffee, then for a swim. The more involved Margot gets with Daniel, the more the cracks in her marriage become obvious. But she also asks herself who Daniel actually is? Should she even consider giving up her marriage for a feeling that might not last? And won’t a relationship with him become routine as well sometime down the road?
Director Sarah Polley conveys these recurring questions of most relationships in a very sublte and beautiful manner. Her staging relies completely on the actors whose faces reveal worlds difficult to describe in scenes or images. Doubt and hope, love and passion, trust and fears fight little battles in Michelle Williams’s face. She plays this Margot effortless and without agitation. Glances, gestures and expression allow the spectators to dive into Margot’s growing inner turmoil.
A fantastic circling dolly shot, whose context I can’t give away without spoiling the film, shows the passing years in the most subtle yet gorgeous way I have seen in a long time. Overall plenty of Polley’s scenes can be read as signs for Margot’s future, suggesting the plot further than the story goes.
Take This Waltz is a great film that opens up plenty of questions without answering any. This fact is also the moral of questions as important and big as these: there is no applicable right or wrong answer. There’s only a gut or a mind that one may or may not listen to in these situations.
Take This Waltz (D: Sarah Polley, USA 2011)