WANT to know what the worst film of 2012 is so far? Surprisingly it’s not a film starring Taylor Kitsch, but one starring Michelle Williams. Take This Waltz is an indie drama out of Canada that is shaping up as my most hated flick of the year. Yes, it’s more offensive than Mirror, Mirror and dumber than That’s My Boy. It’s one of the few movies in my film critic career that I’ve actually walked out of. As a general rule I always stay to the end credits, especially if it’s a press screening. It’s only fair the film gets its full running time to prove a point. Take This Waltz I paid for, unfortunately, and I was out of the cinema in under an hour.
How exactly did a film starring one of the strongest actors of our generation – Williams – and crafted by the talented Sarah Polley end up so, well, shit? The blame lies with the screenplay, mainly. The story follows Margot, who’s happily married to Lou (a straight-faced turn from Seth Rogen). Despite her comfortable relationship, she soon finds herself falling for her neighbour Daniel (Luke Kirby): a rickshaw puller by day and an artist by later day.
In the completely unappealing and rather obnoxious Daniel she finds someone who understands how hard it is to be middleclass and white. One excruciating scene between the pair sees Margot respond to his question of “What’s wrong with you?” by going into a monologue about the melancholia she feels when a shard of sunlight hits the pavement in a certain way.
“I just want to cry,” she says.
Really? REALLY? Not to pull the UN card on you here, but there are people in Syria being slaughtered for believing they have the right to elect their own government. But no, you’re right, that ray of sunshine on the concrete is quite depressing.
Williams’ character is incredibly infuriating. A combination of the manic pixie dream girl trope and arthouse asshole, within five of minutes of spending time with her you’d rather be conversing with the crazy cat lady in your street. Her constant use of baby voice also makes you want to staple your ears shut.
From the camerawork to abrupt nudity, Take This Waltz gets tangled in its own pretensions like a fly in a spider’s web. The brainchild of actress-turned-filmmaker Sarah Polley, I expected better. After all, this is the woman who crafted the exquisitely moving Away From Her in 2006.
By the time Williams’ character squirms at her love interest from across the table and whispers “I want to know what you do to me”, it was over.
“That’s it,” I declared to my friends, who I’d convinced to see the film. “I’m out.”
I walked out of the cinema unable to take the schmaltz and definitely unable to Take This Waltz.
Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz
Directed by: Sarah Polley
Writer: Sarah Polley
Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman
Take This Waltz was released in Australia on the 14th of June 2012, in the U.S.A on the 25th of May 2012 and in the U.K on the 17th of August 2012.
Sydney, Australia. Getting her start as a police reporter, her writing on pop culture has appeared in publications such as the New York Post, Guardian, Penthouse, The Daily Mail, Empire Magazine, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, i09, Junkee and many more. Previously seen as a presenter on SBS Viceland’s nightly news program The Feed and as the host of Cleverfan on ABC, she has been a journalist for over 15 years.
Her best-selling debut novel Who's Afraid? was published in 2016, followed by its sequel Who’s Afraid Too? in 2017, which was nominated for Best Horror Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2018. Who’s Afraid? is being developed for television by the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Hoodlum Entertainment. Her Young Adult debut, It Came From The Deep, was released globally on October 31, Halloween, 2017 and is a twist on The Little Mermaid meets Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Her fourth book, The Witch Who Courted Death, was released on Halloween, 2018 and nominated for Best Fantasy Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2019. Her fifth novel set within the share supernatural universe is due for release in October, 2019.