Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Director(s): Sarah Polley
Cast: Luke Kirby, Michelle Williams, Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen
Run Time: 116 minutes
Theatrical Release: 06/29/2012
MPAA Rating: R
MPAA Explanation: for language, some strong sexual content and graphic nudity
Common Sense Says: Drama about love, temptation has lots of mature content.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Take This Waltz is a mature adult drama that explores the ways in which a long-term relationship might start to feel stale, and focuses on a woman (Michelle Williams) who loves her husband (Seth Rogen) but struggles to resist a handsome neighbor. There's some intense sexuality, both in bed (one extended montage includes threesomes and other graphic sequences, and there's some female full-frontal nudity) and in tension-laden scenes of the forbidden couple trying to tamp down their feelings. A few sequences feature social drinking, and one character is a recovering alcoholic who's tottering on the edge. There's also plenty of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and more). Ultimately, it's unlikely that the grown-up nature of the material will appeal to younger viewers.
- Families can talk about how Take This Waltz depicts sex and relationships. Is there a positive message here? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding these topics.
- Do you think all long-term relationships eventually lose their luster? How can a couple avoid being tempted by something new?
- Do you think Margot made the right choice? Does she regret her actions?
What's the story?
Margot (Michelle Williams), a 28-year-old sometime writer, is married to Lou (Seth Rogen), a kind and funny cookbook writer. Together they live a sweet life, trading banter, hugs, and love. They've been married for five good years. Five familiar years. There are no surprises. Until, on a research trip, Margot meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), a rickshaw-puller and artist who catches her eye. On the plane, they also trade banter -- but this time it's unfamiliar and compelling. As it turns out, Daniel lives across the street from Margot and Lou, and his presence isn't something Margot can easily ignore. She feels pulled to him and he to her, calling into question the happy life that Margot thought she had been, up until this point, leading.
Is it any good?
TAKE THIS WALTZ is beautiful, thought-provoking, and filled with graceful, cinematic moments and breathtaking performances (Williams, especially, and, surprisingly, Sarah Silverman as Lou's alcoholic sister, Geraldine). It explores, with great intelligence, what happens in relationships when they feel settled and when something (or someone) comes along to destabilize them, even unintentionally.It's also peppered with some overly precious moments (though overall the dialogue is phenomenal), and the lovely set design and direction sometimes cross the line into self-conscious hipsterdom (there are too many soft-focus scenes). And, it has to be said, the subject matter is somewhat self-indulgent, too. We understand that Margot is suffering from a kind of ennui that, at first quietly and then explosively, destructively renders what once was satisfying into tedium. But we've seen this in other movies already. The grass may be greener, but is it worth crossing the fence? Still, TAKE THIS WALTZ is a small film with a lingering, potent effect -- rather like meeting someone new you think you could love when you're with someone you already do.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The excitement of the new will eventually wear away in a long-term relationship, but trading in the familiar for a fresh replacement isn't necessarily the best strategy. In fact, what seemed thrilling may soon become just as commonplace, possibly leading to remorse.
Role Models: Margot struggles to remain faithful to her husband despite an intense attraction to another man, while Daniel, the object of her affection, is less respectful of the sanctity of marriage.
What to watch out for
Violence Some intense arguments.
Sex: One long montage of several sexual encounters, including threesomes and other graphic sequences, and one long, explicit monologue as a man describes what he'd like to do to please a woman. One scene features several women, old and young, showering at the gym, with full frontal nudity.
Language: Plenty of swearing, including "s--t," "f--k," "ass," "d--k," and "fricking."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Some characters smoke cigarettes; occasional drinking at parties. One character is a recovering alcoholic who struggles with sobriety.