Star rating – 7/10
Michelle Williams is a superb actress with sublime talent and beauty to match, and she doesn’t seem to pick any parts with a happy marriage involved that’s for sure. She simply blew me away in the heartbreaker of a couple of years ago, Blue Valentine, where she and the wonderful Ryan Gosling played a working class couple whose relationship breaks down in a very painful and searingly honest way. Then there was her delightful and transformational performance as Marilyn Munroe last year in My Week with Marilyn – not a woman whose name is synonymous with married bliss. Not to mention her role as wife to a repressed gay man in the groundbreaking homo erotic cowboy picture Brokeback Mountain.
And the state of wedlock doesn’t fare much better in her latest film, Take This Waltz, where she stars as Margot, a middle class Canadian woman who feels unfulfilled in her relationship to nice, steady (read ‘boring’), and loving husband Lou (played by Seth Rogen). Into her life then steps an amazingly handsome guy (Luke Kirby) who sits next to her on a plane, and then turns out to be her close neighbour. Who would have known! Happens to me all the time...
Some parts of the ensuing three way triangle are spot on. There is a very funny scene in the swimming baths involving aqua aerobics and a weak bladder - I won’t say more. And move over When Harry Met Sally, this film features the most erotic scene I have ever witnessed between a couple sitting down at a table and not actually doing anything physical at the time. It is quite something -believe me. And the longing and torture of unrequited love, or to put it more accurately, unfulfilled desire, is very well done.
But despite the three very good lead performances, it is not a totally satisfactory watch. It does stray unnecessarily into sentimentality at times, and some of the morality lessons involved with having an affair are needlessly telegraphed to the audience. And (last moan) the baby talk between Margot and Lou is cloying to say the least.
But despite these flaws, Michelle Williams always lights up the screen, and this film is worth going to see for the table erotica scene alone. And of course a bit of Leonard Cohen, with The Buggles thrown in for good measure, on the soundtrack can’t fail to satisfy.