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Loopy in love

Profile image for By Boo Allen / Film Critic
By Boo Allen / Film Critic

‘Waltz’ strains credibility, but Polley’s treatise never bores

When a relationship goes bad, or stale, some people do a little dance.

They keep moving, keep trying, keep searching for that spark to rekindle what was once great excitement. And that is the dance they do in Take This Waltz, a somewhat illogical look at a romance headed into parts unknown.

Actions and motivations don’t always add up in this latest release from Canadian writer-director-actress Sarah Polley, her first since 2006’s Away From Her.

But romantic films can often be given a pass on logic, taking into account that everyone has the capability to act a little loopy when it comes to relationships. Here, however, Polley’s creations seem to be carrying out actions simply because they have been written down and not because they make much sense.

Michelle Williams and a poorly cast Seth Rogen play Margot and Lou, a Montreal couple who seems to love each other and enjoy being with each other after about five years of marriage. While on a trip, Margot meets, in an extremely movie-cute way, Daniel (Luke Kirby). The next convenient contrivance comes when they find out they live across the street from each other.

Margot and Daniel start bumping into each other accidentally, and then on purpose. They flirt, have intelligent conversations and get to know each other.

They mentally bond without the physical connections. During it all, they perform several actions that seem artificial, even for a pair of thwarted lovebirds. For example: a non-speaking, non-touching synchronized swimming exercise.

For much of the film, it looks like Polley is offering a treatise on how relationships last even when hitting rough ground. She even brings in the troubles of an alcoholic sister-in-law (Sarah Silverman) to underscore it.

The film sports a loose grasp on its narrative throughout, and it eventually runs off the rails. This derailment accentuates how much the entire movie needs tightening. Too many scenes run on too long after serving their purpose.

Critical darling Williams is fine in her main role as the confused Margot, while the monotonous Rogen continues to deliver his lines without showing any signs of versatility.

Thankfully, Take This Waltz somehow never becomes boring and usually remains entertaining, even if it will leave you scratching your head.


Take This Waltz

** 1/2

Rated R, 116 minutes.

Opens Friday at the Magnolia in Dallas.