It was my turn last night to pick a movie for the evening. My choice, after some internet research, fell on ‘Take This Waltz’. I took along someone who takes a keen interest in cinema and knows much more about it than I do. The review read well enough, and it resonated with some of my own life experience.
Only after inviting my friend to come along did I read the comments to the review which ranged from 2 walking out of the movie to 2 who adored it. Needless to say, the majority of the remaining comments were on the side of those walking out.
Let me say ahead of all else that I quite like Michelle Williams. Yes, I did watch Dawson’s Creek back in the day, and I liked her there. I also like that she didn’t, as opposed to co-star Katie Holmes, marry an established Hollywood actor to get movie roles offered. Not saying Katie didn't deserve them.
Having said that, when my friend appeared to fall asleep about 20 minutes into the movie, I couldn’t blame him. I did like the photography, lots of shallow depth of field and colours reminiscent of polaroids, but to be fair it was pretty for the sake of being pretty a lot of the time rather than taking over part of telling the story.
Let me not comment on the acting, as I am not really qualified, but the movie moved along very slowly. Okay, it is about a woman who’s been married 5 years and meets someone on a trip whom she’s attracted to, who turns out to live across the road from her. So far, so contrived. But it may happen.
In some more polaroid-y shots the movie goes on to show us how she grows more ambivalent about her husband as she feels more and more drawn to the guy across the road. All those scenes drag their feet, but then again, having been through something similar, that’s how it is in real life. It’s not usually some cataclysmic event that makes you fall in love with someone else than your spouse. It often, I think, is lots of trivial moments that add up, and none of them are to the point. Nor was the movie. In that sense, it failed in my friend’s opinion and succeeded in mine.
Okay, so being unfaithful isn’t nice, it isn’t comfortable, it is only done for reasons known to the person who does it, not the observer. That’s life, but does it good cinema make? Clearly not, by majority vote.
Leaving that aside, some observations of my own on the actual story.
If you don’t have much to talk about with your spouse because you are not interested in what they do for a living (coming up with recipes for chicken dishes worth turning into a cookbook) and you can get your only affirmation of your position in their lives by getting physical at the most inopportune moments, please don’t accuse them of having nothing to talk about over your anniversary dinner.
Also, if you don’t know what you want, like: ‘I am writing, but not really…’, don’t expect others to find you interesting beyond your physical attributes. No wonder that after leaving your husband for someone else, soon it’ll take threesomes both ways to keep the spark alive, and finally even that will fail.
Finally, maybe alcoholics are the best people to take life advice from, especially when they crash into some rubbish bins across the road with some chickens after having been reported missing. In vino veritas. Or in any kind of alcohol, for that matter.
However, I agree with my friend, as good as the scenes with the alcoholic are, they do not compensate for the time sitting through the rest waiting for them.