By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
Actress Sarah Polley graduated to directing in 2006 with Away from Her, and immediately received international acclaim and awards attention, cementing her as one of the more interesting young filmmakers working today. While her first was a heartbreaking meditation on aging and illness, her second, Take this Waltz, examines where relationships break. This year she has an incredibly well-liked documentary AND several acting jobs to boot.
I, on the other hand…
This flick focuses on a young wife (Michelle Williams) who feels that her relationship with her husband (Seth Rogen) is growing stale, especially after she meets an attractive man who happens to live down the street, and is forced to choose between her stable husband and the prospects of something more exciting (Luke Kirby). PS: Sarah Silverman plays her alcoholic best friend.
The cast is excellent. In the case of the always-great Williams, this is hardly a surprise, but the just as impressive Rogen and Silverman are. They both get a few good one-liners in here and there, and Silverman is the closest thing to comic relief that the film has, but both have to carry more dramatic weight than I’ve ever seen them do. They do a great job of it, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but one of them even does full frontal.
His body is a wonderland… if you’re talking about the low-rent Latvian Disneyworld knockoff
The script sets out a difficult task for itself in examining some extremely complex emotional situations, and for the most part delivers. While it does fall short in a few instances, the characters and how they handle themselves ring true, and some of the dialogue is absolutely golden. Polley also is clearly growing as a visual director, using more innovative shooting and flourishes here than in her first, and one relationship montage in particular, with a constantly revolving camera around a single set, is masterful.
The script does have an over-reliance on the cutesy-clever dialogue that looks good on paper but doesn’t resemble normal human speech at all. In particular, Williams’ and Rogen’s little couples games come off inauthentic and annoying. Or, since most sweet-talk is like fingernails on a chalkboard for everybody but the two lovers, very authentic?
Who’s my sweetums? Youse my sweetums!
This flick is a pretty big downer. The conclusion is logical and even commendable in how anti-Hollywood it is, but still, if you even make Sarah Silverman and a box of baby chickens massively depressing, maybe dial it back a bit.
The principal issue with this film is that while all of the characters ring as true, none are sympathetic. Everyone, when you boil it down, ends up being a self-involved jerk, and while there are plenty of people like this out there, if you hate everyone in the movie, it’s hard to care what happens in the end.
This flick is well-acted and looks great, but fails to create characters you actually wish good things for.
Take a Drink: every time someone acts jaded or disappointed
Take a Drink: whenever someone does something a hipster might do
Do a Shot: whenever somebody partakes in an obnoxious couples activity