Sex scenes in movies are rarely sexy, but Sarah Polley manages to convey an electrifying encounter in the middle of her new movie, Take This Waltz.
The fact that the scene in question involves two fully-clothed people having a conversation in a public place is a testament to Polley's abilities as a storyteller and to her actors' skill with the material.
Take This Waltz concerns the revolving door of romantic love; for the way it delivers disconcerting truths in an engaging package, it is a remarkable film.
Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen star as Margot and Lou, a married couple in a relationship that's not really working any more.
They seem to be living separate lives together. There are awkward bits in their union where neither will venture and subjects that won't be discussed; when Margot meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), an attractive neighbour, it just underlines her vague dissatisfaction with her marriage. Margot and Daniel become involved in a dance of desire that slowly blots out everything else around them. Now Margot, giddy with possibility, is caught between one thing and the next, between the familiar and the unknown, between reliable and risky.
The film is visually mesmerizing.
Take This Waltz is full of colour and life and it's a love letter to the city of Toronto. The performances are amazing; there's nothing Michelle Williams can't do, apparently, and Seth Rogen finally gets to shine in a serious adult role.
Sarah Silverman, who turns up in the story as a recovering alcoholic (and moral compass), is an unexpected and very pleasant surprise, and as the 'other man', Luke Kirby walks a fine line, emotionally speaking, and never puts a foot wrong.
His performance is understated and impressive.
Take This Waltz examines the pulling apart and the putting together of romantic relationships and the Krazy glue known as desire. That there's a revolving door quality to all these experiences as presented is tragic, of course, and just the teensiest bit cynical "¦ or is it?
The trickiest thing about Take This Waltz is that the movie seems to operate like a mirror. What you bring with you emotionally may dictate which corner of the triangle fascinates (or infuriates) you most.