Take This Waltz Review

At least I still have my testicles.

It’s not the greatest thing a man can say when all else goes wrong in his life, but it certainly is true.

Well, for most of us anyhow.

Take This Waltz isn’t about testicles, it’s about a girl called Margot who seems to be caught between deciding to follow her head or her heart.

Margot likes to cook, paint her toenails blue and write things she doesn’t really care about that pays the rent.

Still, at least she has her husband Lou to fall back on.

And in their little relationship bubble they’ve created, Margot can act and behave like a child.

The thing about bubbles is that while they can keep us safe, we can also feel trapped by them.

And when Margot happens across a tall, dark and handsome stranger, it’s fair to say she feels more of the latter.

And the fact that she’s married.

As Margot forgets herself and her marriage when she’s around her new magic friend, so the cracks with her beau Lou become more visible.

But will she dance with her new suitor, or is life outside of her bubble everything it seems to be?

Having tired of predictable, male-centric Hollywood fare, I’ve long been an advocate of women writers and directors in cinema; if only to see how films would be when the shoe’s on the other foot.

What I hated most about this imbalance was inevitable the lack of credible female characters in so many mainstream movies.

So when sometime actor Sarah Polley filled both these roles in Take This Waltz, I was keen to see how her things panned out.

Michelle Williams plays Margot, a girl too afraid to have the life she really wants but has done pretty well for herself all the same.

Her character perfectly encapsulates the kind of restless nature of modern twentysomething women who want to have it all in their life.

So Margot has the perfect provider at home in the shape of her devoted husband and chef Lou, yet when she meets a dashing and creative stranger who makes her heart go all a flutter, she doesn’t hold back on exploring this either.

But if Take This Waltz proves women can write about themselves better than most any man ever could, it also shows the fairer sex has just the same problem when trying to write credible male characters.

Whilst the leading male roles of Margot’s husband Lou and potential lover Daniel, played by Seth Rogen and Luke Kirby respectively, reveal some nice insights into the general mind-set of men, this falls down whenever they have a big moment to face.

In fact, these male characters primary role is to further the story of Margot; an interesting role reversal of what women have had to put up with for years in the cinematic incarnations many Hollywood men have served up for them.

It’s almost comforting to realise when men and women are put in the same position, they make the same choices.

Which isn’t to say Take This Waltz isn’t fun or enjoyable; it’s both.

I guess the other side of that filmmaking coin isn’t as full of wonder as I’d hoped.

Still, at least I have my testicles.

Jonathan Campbell

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August 2012
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