Take This Waltz (UK - BD RB)
Marcus shares a dance with Michelle Williams in this anti romantic comedy...
Margot (Michelle Williams) takes a trip to Nova Scotia and meets Daniel (Luke Kirby). Travelling home together on the plane, the two share an instant connection and discover they are actually neighbours. It’s also around that time that Margot confesses that she is actually married to Lou (Seth Rogan) and the pair part ways… for a while.
Meeting regularly again, Margot and Daniel’s bond begins to grow and even though they both acknowledge nothing is going to happen between them, due to Margot being married, their encounters still become increasingly more intense.
Sarah Polley has created a solid look at how desire can change her lead character’s life quite dramatically. We are all intoxicated by our desires and Take This Waltz is a level headed study of how we can toy with the boundaries of our choices in life until they reach a breaking point. Michele Williams once again delivers a performance full of layers. Something is obviously missing in Margot’s life and it’s that unquantifiable 'thing' that can nibble away at a person’s happiness, especially when they are experiencing life on the other side of the fence and it seems more in tune with what they think they want.
Thankfully Williams isn’t the hard edged character she was in the recent Blue Valentine (love that film but I'm not sure I could take Williams in that mode again), in fact she’s pretty much the opposite (phew). She displays a series of vulnerable quirks that are played upon to up her cuteness to Daniel. With minimal dialogue you can see that the largely loving relationship between Margot and Lou is just hitting a few disconnections as the pair hit five years in marriage and Polley really manages to generate a buzz between Margot and her new neighbour.
Of course it’s never a cut and dry case of Margot SHOULD be with Daniel because, unlike most movies it’s not a certainty that these two are ‘soul mates’ or whatever label you want to place on that usual cop out ‘meant to be together’ argument. Instead we are presented a series of interactions and left with the questions ‘Has this gone too far?’ or ‘What should Margot do?
Seth Rogan doesn’t really get to play until the third act of the film and until then is doing the thankless task of being the likable Seth Rogan. When he does get some drama to play with, he does a great job and actually offers up a very real world response to Margot’s hidden relationship. Again, this is quite a refreshing depiction of a betrayed husband and never falls into the cliché explosion you’d expect. There’s also a side order of Sarah Silverman playing a recovering alcoholic but beyond one stand out scene where she faces off against Margot, there’s not a great deal for her to do but be Sarah Silverman.
For a movie that could have dealt in bleak visuals, Polley actually opts for the opposite. This film is packed with primary and warm colours. Everything feels summery with bronzed filters and while it never goes into the realm of cartoony, Take This Waltz really does kick out some boosted colours. This is both great and inconsistent. Colder, more naturally lit scenes can have Michelle Williams with her blonde hair but in the next scene have her hair change to a more gingery red due to the boost in oranges and yellows. With that said, the visuals are never distracting, just always warm and summery.
Alongside that, there are some nice strong blacks. The image is nicely detailed with textures on clothes, upholstery and skin all above average. Despite the bold colour choices the image remains a crisp one throughout. Noise is kept to a minimal and backgrounds hold a great deal of detail, especially in Margot and Lou’s rural feeling décor in their home. This is a transfer that flits between natural looking and colour enhanced but it all works very well for the overall look of the film and looks pretty great in this high definition presentation.
This is a fairly quiet drama which is more about what isn’t being said than what is, so the DTS-HD Master Audio track really only focuses on delivering clear dialogue as its priority. That said there’s a good deal of ambient noise to scenes. Passing cars, flying over planes or background chatter all sounds strong in the surrounds and the handful of excellent song choices on the soundtrack can sound bloody great in the mix (though there was a Micah P. Hinton track that felt a little hollow in one scene for my tastes).
The disc opens with trailers for Your Sister's Sister and Blue Valentine.
'Taking this Waltz' (36:41 HD) is a great little documentary with all involved that discusses desire and how people struggle with it. It also goes into the film’s mix of sadness and emptiness and also decribes the film perfect as a celebration of our flaws. Lastly there’s the trailer (02:22 HD).
Take This Waltz ends up being another fairly raw look at relationships. It’s wonderfully played, provides another strong performance by Michelle Williams and takes advantage of playing in that uncomfortable sandbox of desire and all of the heartache that comes with it. This is one of those small movies that has a lot to say and says it all very well and despite the fact the subject matter isn’t one I return to for enjoyable rewatches, it doesn’t stop the film itself from being a highlight fo 2012. The Blu-ray itself looks bright and colourful, the audio does a great job at being solid but never spectacular and while there's not many extras, what we do get was very good indeed. This one is well worth picking up but maybe not for those couples who may have suspicions their partner is up to something behind their back.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 7th January 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Dolby Stereo 2.0 English
Subtitles: Audio Description English
Extras: Talking This Waltz, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Sarah Polley
Cast: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogan, Luke Kirby
Genre: Drama and Romance
Length: 116 minutes
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