Film: Take This Waltz, Dir. Sarah Polley #midweekfilmclub 21

Hmmm. After taking the summer off from MWFC, I thought it was high time to get the ball rolling again.  Kinda wishing I’d chosen a different week.

A while back I heard that In Bruges was, in essence, paid for by Eurostar, in return for product placement, before it became allowed per se.  I loved that film and couldn’t bear the thought that a trainline, of all things, had shaped it, in any way, for it’s marketing needs.  Well, whilst it won’t have a similar impact on films I love, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Take This Waltz was made possible by the pockets of magazines called “Boho Interiors” and “Cuntry Living” (sic.) such was the omnipresence of chintzy decor and gingham dresses throughout the overly long 112 minutes of this film.

Starring Michelle Williams (whose sterling work I enjoyed in MWFC7‘s My Week With Marilyn) and Seth Rogen (I have to say, I’ve not seen much, if any, of him and I won’t be rushing back to see him again) as wife and husband, Margot and Lou, Luke Kirby as the lusted for neighbour, Daniel, as well as a nice appearance from Sarah Silverman as Rogen’s recovering/regressing alcoholic sister, this is a film that questions, OK, tries to question, what makes marriages work and what makes people cheat on those they’ve vowed to stay with through richness and poorness.

The trouble is, for me at least, that I didn’t really care for any of the leads enough to want to know the answers; Margot’s self-centred and indecisive, Lou’s a moody wet blanket and Daniel just hones in on Margot’s weaknesses to wheedle his way into her life.  The film is also riddled with lazy cliche’s, the worst of which comes as the wife and her neighbour finally “dive into” their affair.  At the local swimming pool. Erm, please?

I’m painting this as a bed of roses, aren’t I?

OK, so there’s some nice touches too.  Notably, the aquacise class in which Margot and her lush of a sister-in-law partake and also the waltzer scene, set to BugglesVideo Killed The Radio Star, which ended with a real laugh out loud moment.  As an aside, this latter set piece brought to mind other pieces of seemingly odd music well matched to the moment in a film; Boney M‘s Browngirl In The Ring in Touching The Void, Belafonte’s Day-o in Beetlejuice or, of course, Steeler’s Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle With You from Reservoir Dogs.  There was also a shower scene where the elder, wrinklier members of a ladies aquacise class were telling the younger, firmer ladies of how, even if you trade in your old man for a new buck, soon that buck’ll be a gripey old stag too.

With this in mind the film finishes reasonably predictably, which was t0 be expected given the lack of twists and turns throughout.

6/10 – overwrought and under thought out stuff, that under utilised the acting skills of Williams with a shitty character that boxed her into a corner, whilst asking too much of the limited Rogen.

If you’re unsure of any of them; here’s the music vid’s… any other’s you’d add?

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