Take This Waltz (15)
The young writer-director Sarah Polley made a proper grown-up movie for her debut, the tormented late-life romance Away From Her (2006) that starred Julie Christie. Her second has a greater visual flair and feel for colour, though in terms of psychological insight it's much woollier, and its set-up is more conventional.
At heart, it's a portrait of a woman who's on the edge and doesn't quite know it. Michelle Williams plays Margot, a vaguely dissatisfied 28-year-old in middle-class Toronto married to Fozzy-Bear-cuddly Lou (Seth Rogen), who's writing a chicken cookbook.
Their relationship is happy, comfortable, dull, and involves a lot of baby talk (ugh) and mock-vicious threats, so when Margot meets hunky Daniel (Luke Kirby) on a plane and then discovers that they live opposite each other, you know that trouble's on the way. "I'm afraid of connections," she says, referring to her phobia around airports but meaning something, uh, deeper.
The line illustrates Polley's shortcoming: she's a much better director than she is a writer. Her summoning of mood is tremendously assured, such as the scene in which Margot and Daniel ride a fairground waltzer to the yearning strains of "Video Killed The Radio Star" – and look broken by its sudden ending.
But the backstories ring false: Margot never seems to do any work (she's meant to be a freelance travel writer), Daniel is too well-off to be a rickshaw driver, and Lou looks like a guy who's never read, let alone written, a recipe in his life. Williams has fine expressive features, but she's often as annoying as she is adorable, too ready to wrap herself in a shawl of waifish victimhood.
After Wendy and Lucy, Blue Valentine, My Week With Marilyn and now this, I feel guilty saying that she can be a bit of a wet blanket. Take This Waltz has its moments, and a lot else you could call self-absorbed tripe.
Arts & Ents blogs
There is a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refle...
The opening titles squeal ‘Never Can Say Goodbye…’. Oh Lord how I wish I could heave this series off...
Even though there was a complete absence of our favourite odd couple Brienne and Jaime, we got anoth...
'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
Brian May: The Voice is the dullest, dumbest, most depressing programme on TV
Coronation Street triumphs over EastEnders at British Soap Awards 2013
The Freemasons' Code: Dan Brown reveals the message that told him the door to the lodge is open
Tacky or just plain weird? Gallery in Hamburg holds exhibition dedicated to bad taste
- 1 'Soldier beheaded' in street as two shot in suspected terrorist attack near Woolwich barracks
- 2 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 4 China agrees to impose carbon targets by 2016
- 5 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.