movies: ‘‘Love thy neigh­bour’’ takes on new mean­ing ...........

Michelle Wil­liams flirts with adul­tery in writes of

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

ICHELLE Wil­liams, reign­ing queen of indie ro­man­tic in­de­ci­sion, swel­ters pret­tily dur­ing a Toronto sum­mer as her af­fec­tion wa­vers be­tween her teddy bear of a hus­band (Seth Ro­gen) and her edgy-artist neigh­bour (Luke Kirby) in Take This Waltz.

Di­rec­tor Sarah Pol­ley’s first film since 2006’s Away From Her con­tin­ues her fo­cus on the awk­ward and dif­fi­cult par­tic­u­lar­i­ties of hu­man re­la­tion­ships, in all their colourful glory – lit­er­ally. This movie is bathed in bright hues with a sweaty haze; it feels lush, al­most over­ripe.

On a work trip to a Nova Sco­tian colo­nial reen­act­ment vil­lage, copy­writer Mar­got (Wil­liams) en­coun­ters a young man named Daniel (Kirby), who, it turns out, lives across the street from her.

Their phys­i­cal at­trac­tion is ob­vi­ous (and amus­ingly il­lus­trated – he eggs her on when she’s re­luc­tantly en­listed to flog a way­ward vil­lager in the stocks). They meet again on the plane home, where he calls her on some weird be­hav­iour and they share a laugh. But af­ter their cab home, she re­treats.

‘‘I’m mar­ried,’’ she con­fesses, shut­ting the door on Daniel.

Yet even as she snug­gles with her hus­band Lou (Ro­gen) in bed the next morn­ing – with cou­ple-y baby talk so con­vinc­ing that it’s mad­den­ingly un­com­fort­able to lis­ten to – she can’t get Daniel off her mind, which sets in place a dou­ble life. She cud­dles with her hus­band, then sneaks off for furtive, non-touch­ing hang­outs with her neigh­bour, whose tal­ent for talk­ing dirty comes to light when she asks, over cof­fee: ‘‘What would you do to me?’’

Cana­dian ac­tor Kirby’s bed­room-eyes shtick is in­fused the right amount of creepi­ness, as Pol­ley’s film plays with the blurry line be­tween soul­ful ro­man­tic ob­ses­sion and just plain stalk­ing.

Sarah Sil­ver­man ca­pably plays near type as Mar­got’s sar­donic sis­ter-in-law, a re­cov­er­ing al­co­holic, and casts a (jus­ti­fi­ably) sus­pi­cious eye on Daniel.

And Ro­gen? Well, he does the lik­able hus­band role pretty well, though it’s a thank­less one.

The real beauty of Pol­ley’s di­rect­ing is its cel­e­bra­tion of im­per­fec­tion. Dur­ing one se­quence in a women’s locker room, Wil­liams and Sil­ver­man shower and have a ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion, along­side sev­eral older women. No one is Brazil­ian-ed, or seem­ingly, sur­gi­cally en­hanced. No one is self-con­scious.

Amid all the film’s ro­mance – even the un­con­ven­tional kind – it turns out to be the most rad­i­cal scene of all.

opens to­day.

Michelle Wil­liams and Seth Ro­gen star in

di­rected by Sarah Pol­ley.

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