Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, today’s #TBT recommendation is Take This Waltz (dir. Sarah Polley 2011).
I know, I said I chose something in honor of Valentine’s Day and, arguably, Take This Waltz is anti-Valentine’s Day. But I think you can watch this film whether your pro- or anti-V Day. Multihyphenate Sarah Polley writes, produces, and directs this female-centric, sexy, (anti?) love story. Michelle Williams stars as Margot, a freelance writer married to Lou (Seth Rogen…yeah). Margot is twee, clingy, and almost unlikeable. Margot and Lou’s relationship consists of inside jokes and weird things people in relationships do when they’ve lived together for years. They’re relationship is annoying, only because it’s so accurate, mundane, and intimate. However, Michelle’s performance becomes complex as Margot meets dark/mysterious neighbor Daniel (played by THE BEST Luke Kirby). Take This Waltz closely examines a woman’s choice between two men – the choice of comfort vs. passion. It also features the best filmic portrayal of change over time and intimacy that I’ve ever seen, through a beautiful, circular montage of Margot’s relationship set to Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz.” I love this film. I love the way it takes Margot’s feelings and choices seriously. I love the cinematography. I love this film so much that I’m hesitant to share it. Go watch it, just don’t tell me if you hate it.
You go, Lane! Hey everyone, it’s Michelle (wishing I was the Williams one though right now). I love Take This Waltz and I think Lane did a great job at explaining the film while highlighting it’s complexities. Although the film mainly focuses on Michelle Williams’ character Margot and her failing relationship with Lou and developing relationship with Daniel, there’s another significant character I’d like to quickly talk about. Geraldine, played by the always great Sarah Silverman, who is the sister of Seth Rogen’s character Lou. Geraldine is very special because she is not only close to Margot and shares her words of wisdom with her throughout the film, she is a recovering alcoholic who has a dramatic relapse that is highly representative to the root of the film. Geraldine has some of the best lines within the film that really move Margot’s narrative efficiently. The core of this film is emptiness, and what we do as humans to fill it. Margot seeks out love and affection and sex with Daniel to fill the void between her relationship with Lou, Lou immerses himself in his work as his void with Margot only grows, and we can mention the emptiness that is typically the center of most addictions. Infidelity is another theme within the film, for obvious reasons, but also with the idea of cheating on ourselves, our ideals, our lives. This is clear in Geraldine’s infidelity with her sobriety. She cheats on her recovery, and on her chance at having a stable life.
In the moment of her relapse, she confronts Margot about her actions, the divorce, and why she thought it was all worth it. Claiming to be in her natural state, she talks to Margot about how she messed up and how they are both doing the same thing. Margot stands in shock and confusion, but Geraldine makes herself clear that although she doesn’t agree with Margot, she understands.We get one of the most key quotes of the film during this scene as Geraldine proclaims “Life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it like some lunatic.” Think about it, even a basic waltz requires a gap between its dancers. We cannot fill these gaps and we can’t always work things out by making “the right move.” A lesson that Margot will eventually learn, and one the audience can sit with as the film concludes.