Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Sarah Polley's stature as a filmmaker continues to grow with Take This Waltz, an intense examination of a woman "scared of being scared".
Polley's skills as a writer were showcased brilliantly in Away From Her, for which she was Oscar nominated, but she has outdone herself with her latest effort. And as with the previous film, her direction of actors is again masterful here. I'm not usually a fan of Michelle Williams' dour presence, but I think this is her best performance.
In Take This Waltz, Williams plays a woman vaguely dissatisfied with life, and in particular with her husband. It's not splashed out in neon signs, but there are indications that although the two share a child-like sense of fun and a cosy existence, he seems content with the simple things in life and she feels an undefined restlessness.
From this point she begins an attraction with another man, the portrayal of which is all the more devastating because it doesn't unfold like a standard extra-marital affair. There is no sex or unbridled lust, instead only words, looks and mutual activities that are a frustrated substitute for physical fulfillment. Its a pained and confused push and pull - quite literally in one fairground scene, and its quite spell-binding to watch.
Seth Rogen plays a subtler version of the kind of emotionally stunted clown we're used to seeing him from him. He's actually a prefect fit in a cast of perfect fits.
There are many moments of comedy, but the accumulation of dramatic tension makes for an emotionally draining experience, climaxing in a final scene of haunting poetry.