While on a plane ride back to Toronto from a writing assignment, Margot meets Daniel, a handsome stranger. An immediate attraction is formed and Margot is able to open up and discuss some of her fears and longings. A taxi ride back home causes Daniel and Margot to realize that they are neighbours and Margot admits she's married. The summer-time heat and her increasing fascination with the handsome artist who lives across the street starts getting to her, and Margot is no longer sure if she's happy in her marriage or if she'd be happier with her fantasies with Daniel. Written by
When you just need to get Leonard Cohen stuck in your head
This film shouldn't work nearly as well as it does. Take This Waltz centres around a two-suitors plot that was tired a century ago, takes place in a hipster-utopia version of Toronto, has multiple comedic actors who've worn out their welcome doing Serious Roles, and its characters are either selfish or dull. But Take This Waltz also has a kind of magic that can wash over the most jaded cinema viewer and make you forget that you've seen it all before.
Maybe it's Sarah Polley's direction, or maybe it's the brilliant performance of Michelle Williams that makes her character likable against all odds. Maybe the thematic statement about the perils of looking for adventure and the need for constant romance is something that we need affirmed more often against the tide of romcoms and gooey melodramas. Maybe it's just that I really want to live in hipster- utopia-Toronto. But this film stuck with me for days afterwards, its scenes playing over and over in my mind, blotting out all the rest of the disposable entertainment. There are so many indelible images here: a public shower scene which plays pranks on the male gaze, that goofy but somehow powerful 360-degree-rotation montage, and of course the final scene, a coda that grants its central character and us along with her a moment of unmediated joy. And it's that joy that the film understands as being something we maybe have to pursue no matter what its cost. Michelle Williams' abashed smile gives us a taste of that adventure, and like the rest of the movie, it's damn hard to resist.
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