movies: ‘‘Love thy neighbour’’ takes on new meaning ...........
Michelle Williams flirts with adultery in writes of
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.
Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen star in
directed by Sarah Polley.