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Take This Waltz - Film Review

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by Emu Byron (subscribe)
writer in English, French and Spanish with published credits available in government publications, local and ethnic media. I live in Sydney.
Published January 22nd 2013

How many ordinary days must go by before an extraordinary one comes along? How many times must we go around the same old block, before we change our minds and take the blind leap of faith that fate seems to be conspiring to tempt us with? What has the law got to do with it, which law, and why does obeisance to it result in the temptation to break it?

Take this Waltz' is a precious gem of fine moviemaking with some deft French-style handling of symbolism:

The zany but archetypal fear of getting stuck in some "terminal between flights that nobody knows is there" (the stultifying effects of stable relationships on complacent partnerships).

The beads of "cold water" playfully thrown inside the warm, fuzzy shower (awakenings can be rude and may start playfully).

The price of success being "a different chicken recipe at each meal eaten every night" (the partner, played by Rogen, is a chicken recipe author) versus the personal transporting power of a man pulling a rickshaw (the love rival, played by Kirby, is a self supporting artist doing the rickshaw thing in Montreal's tourist zones).

Conformity and safety versus rebellion and risk!

Success versus self-realisation!

The 'wheelchair' that Michelle Williams first appears-in because of her 'fear of flights' (when she meets Kirby's character) versus the 'Rickshaw' pulled by the attractive stranger, who turns out to live next door to her home in Montreal.


This is clever-dick movie-making at its best, but you need patience. It is after all (or seems to be to me) a chick-flick, and the imagery teases the audience gently into the crux of the matter at the same limp-wrist pace as "Margot" (Michelle Williams) applies those mock-lashes to 'the convict' during the scenic tour in Novia Scotia at the start of the film.

Nor should the stentorian disapproving words of the drunken sister-in-law (Sarah Silverman) at the end of the story be taken at face value, or should they?

"…life has a gap in it. It just does. You don't go crazy trying to fill it like some lunatic!"

The ending is suitably ambivalent (though one can't be sure of anything where ambivalence is concerned).

This maybe a chick-flick, but chicks are empowered to take the leap, if they wish; should be mandatory viewing for any thirty-something thinking of taking the leap into the big bad unknown…

Magnolia Pictures
Scriptwriter/Director Sarah Polley
Michelle Williams/Seth Rogen/Luke Kirby/Sarah Silverman

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Where: On DVD / Blu-ray
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