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Seth Rogen as we’ve come to know him is the goofy guy (great actor, though) that will play a lead comedic role and absolutely nail it, appear as a light-hearted but still incredibly funny guy in dramatic films (i.e. “50/50” and “Funny People”) or even cameo as a dominant relief pitcher on audacious shows like “Eastbound and Down.” Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz” marks a much more serious role for Rogen, albeit not leading, but is just more proof that he possesses versatility in his acting ability.
This project seems personal to Polley; it’s her second feature film, and she features a protagonist in Margot who is flawed to the exact extent so that you, the viewer, actually consider her a human. Not to a point where you want to put a gun to her head and blow her brains because she’s a lost cause or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, where you feel bad for her and sympathize with her because she’s just plain pathetic – you accept her for who she is because she just lives how she feels; there is nothing superficial about her whatsoever.
Margot (Michelle Williams) is caught romantically between her husband Lou (Rogen) and her new shy neighbor Daniel (Luke Kirby). In a picturesque Toronto setting completely absent of any sign of winter is where Polley presents this harrowingly realistic storyline, the gorgeous cinematography of this colorfully vibrant atmosphere really adds to the irony of how dark “Take This Waltz” is. Margot is just caught in boredom.
Even with all the questionable acts she commits, there still lie the more joyous moments in her life, along with those many unmemorable instances that stand in between. Some days include mindless neon-infused bumper car rides; others include showering with her best friend Geraldine (Sarah Silverman) amongst other women of all shapes and sizes talking about life; most include life’s difficulties as we as human beings know them.
That’s why I tend to think women are better at directing women than men are (I’m pointing at you, Woody Allen), because men don’t understand that sexual attraction is an enigma – it’s completely random; it’s a mystery. Lou cares, caresses, and shows affection for Margot but she simply cannot force herself to do something she doesn’t want to do. She’s just a human being.
“Take This Waltz” plays a lot like Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine” in terms of how each film looks at the many inconsistencies that may go alongside the tragedy of being a male in love. Lou is a lot like Ryan Gosling’s Dean character; they’re both down to earth, generally kind human beings who just can’t please Michelle Williams’ respective characters. No matter what they do, she still has this unexplainable yet understandable inclination to treat these poor men like shit even though they would do anything for her.
Polley proves she understands both men and women with “Take This Waltz.” It’s not an awards contender or a best movie of the year contender by any means, but anything this down to earth and realistic is surely commendable.
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