In ballroom dancing terms the Waltz is considered a slow dance, somewhat lacking in excitement and energy. That also seems a fairly appropriate description for this rather lumbersome film, which sees Michelle Williams star as Margot, a happily married woman in her late 20s, who suddenly finds herself uncontrollably attracted to Daniel, a handsome artist who lives across the street. And…that’s about it…
As her struggle to deal with conflicting feelings of love for her neighbour, and loyalty to her husband is drawn out over nearly 2 long hours. A minimal storyline doesn’t necessarily equal a boring film, but with Take This Waltz missing both laughs and interesting characters (other than an all too brief appearance of an overenthusiastic aqua aerobics instructor), the result is hardly captivating.
The biggest problem is the supposedly ‘quirky’ Margot. In a world where awkwardness is considered attractive (be honest, how often do you actually find yourself drawn to the stuttering, gawky type?) she’s supposed to seem cute but instead just giggles her way through the film like a stoned toddler with learning difficulties, leading you to strongly question her appeal to potential fling Daniel and husband Lou (Seth Rogen).
Her relationship with Lou takes the cutesiness to even more sickening heights. All the couple ever seem to do is declare their love for one another, sometimes rather originally (‘I love you so much I wanna put your spleen in a blender’) and sometimes as nauseatingly as a Clinton Cards teddy (on several occasions the words ‘I wuv you’ are uttered). Not that the slightly creepy Daniel is a superior alternative. Supposedly a brooding ‘Ryan Gosling type’, instead the apparently friendless, semi-stalker (a term he even uses to describe himself – at least he’s self aware) seems a prime suspect for a future serial killer.
It’s full of indie cinema clichés: there’s the acoustic, folky soundtrack; every character has an unusual job (chicken centric cook book author, rickshaw driver, where are the dentists and plumbers?); and Margot and Daniel speak in such a whimsical way every line feels like it was written to show how creative they are (has anyone ever said ‘It takes all my courage to seduce you’ in real life?).
It’s all supposed to seem very profound, but just comes across as a series of offbeat conversations about nothing in particular. And as if that wasn’t bad enough it doesn’t even feature any waltzing. ‘Strictly’ fans will be gutted.
Words by Nathan Thomas
Edited by Natalia