Take This Waltz is a romantic drama that centres around Margot (Michelle Williams) who is in a happy if conventional marriage of five years to chicken chef Lou (Seth Rogan). She is left with a difficult decision, however, when attractive, spontaneous rickshaw driver and artist Daniel (Luke Kirby) moves in across the street. As her feelings for Daniel increase, and she faces difficulties with her husband, she is forced to consider the future of her marriage and whether or not the grass really is greener on the other side.
When faced with a setup like Take This Waltz, all but the most innovative scripts are left with a feeling of going through the motions in order to reach the crucial moment of the film: the woman’s difficult decision, and this is something Take This Waltz doesn’t successfully avoid. The first two thirds of the film are made up of awkward encounters between Margot and Daniel where their casual flirtation turns into love. This is convincingly done, with fantastic chemistry between Williams and Kirby, but feels all too much like we’ve seen it before, which, considering one of the film’s messages is that things are only exciting as long as they’re new, should have been better avoided.
Margot’s motivations for contemplating ending her apparently happy, if not perfect, marriage are also not adequately made which makes it hard to empathise with her, particularly when husband Lou is rather likeable. But Take This Waltz is a very nice, tidy film by actor-turned-director Sally Polley which benefits from the performances of its strong leads as well as aesthetically pleasing suburban sets and costumes bathed in a bright colour palette, and a gentle soundtrack.
For a film about choices, Take This Waltz gets a lot of them right, most particularly in its casting, but the conventionality of the plot desperately needs an injection of humour that’s largely absent, or some more intense drama to make up for it. It’s like the extended version of that Match.com advert where the bloke plays the ukulele at a train station, and ultimately it fails to stand out from the crowd with convention followed across the board. While there will no doubt be plenty here to enjoy for people who think Norah Jones is edgy, there are too many stretches of unoriginality to make it worthwhile for the rest of us.