Of all the ways you can rate a film, one of my favourites is how much you want to talk about it afterwards.
Seriously, sometimes after I’ve seen a movie that is in some way provocative, I find myself dying to sit down over a beer or coffee and chew over its meaning with someone.
The new Canadian offering Take This Waltz (R16) is one of those films.
Written and directed by Sarah Polley and starring the supremely talented Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz is not your average rom-com.
Williams plays Margot, a young, married, freelance writer whose life gets complicated when she develops a strong attraction to another man.
That man, Daniel, is an artist and masterful seducer played by Luke Kirby.
The problem for Margot is that she actually deeply loves her husband, Lou, played by Seth Rogan, and his loud and lovable family. Margot and Lou have been together for five years and though their relationship is full of affection, as far as Margot is concerned, it’s seriously suffering in the bedroom department.
Take This Waltz takes its time to get going but when it does it is an engrossing film about a whole bunch of things including love, lust, the fragility of trust, the meaning of marriage, the consequences of actions and, ultimately, identity.
True to form, Williams is superb.
The way she totally inhabits her characters makes her one of the best film actors working today and Take This Waltz gives her plenty to dive into.
Margot may be childish and occasionally needy but she is undeniably relatable and utterly human.
Newcomer Kirby brings the requisite sensuality and intensity to the role of Daniel and makes it easy to see why women would be drawn to him – although, while I initially liked Daniel, the more I saw of him, the more I wanted to punch him in the face.
I like to think that’s a sign of great acting.
The incredibly busy Rogan (the dude has been in 18 movies since 2007’s Knocked Up) gives easily his most restrained performance to date and for the most part it works a treat.
The other star of the film is Toronto, Polley’s hometown, in summer. The main setting is a colourful part of the city known as Little Portugal, which looks like a sweet place to live.
In fact, watching Take This Waltz, I couldn’t help wondering why more films aren’t set in Canada’s biggest city.
Polley, who was nominated for an Oscar for her screenplay for her 2007 directorial debut Away From Her, again shows real flair for dialogue.
Occasionally it feels like characters are delivering speeches but they’re such well-written ones you don’t care.
Polley also refuses to pander to Hollywood norms and admirably resists any temptation to judge her characters; refreshingly letting the audience reach its own conclusions about Margot, Daniel and Lou, and the decisions they make.
She also scores points for her unencumbered and excitingly honest approach to sex.
Bottom line: Very human, very real, and very good.