FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead
Love, sex, fidelity and relationships – this is the stuff of Toronto-set Take This Waltz, a bittersweet, sensuous romance from actress-director Sarah Polley. The story is a dance of desire and will, as sweet, 28-year-old copyrighter Margot (versatile performance by Michelle Williams) is torn between her love for her husband Lou (a bearish Seth Rogen) and a developing attraction for her flirtatious artist neighbour Daniel (the sunny Luke Kirby).
“New things get old,” remarks one of the characters in a naked shower scene – a lingering shot of female bods across the generations making the point more stark. While this salutary warning on relationships is impending throughout, Polley also seduces with soft sensuality, from the opening scene of baking cupcakes barefoot, to a writhing underwater dance between two lovers in a pool.
Some of the dialogue – particularly the intimate husband-and-wife banter – takes time to grow on you. It took a long time to believe Lou and Margot were ever in love, for instance, but there’s lots of fodder here for lively, post-film discussion, plus a great scene on a waltzer ride to The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star.
Director Jonathan Demme is perhaps best known for The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Stop Making Sense and Neil Young concert films. Demme’s third documentary about the grizzled rocker, Neil Young Journeys, captures the last two nights of Young’s Le Noise world tour at Toronto’s Massey Hall.
The film, opening July 13, features classics such as Ohio and Hey Hey, My My as well as previously unreleased work like Leia and You Never Call. Demme intercuts on-stage performances with Young’s own musings on his life and upbringing, as he drives from his hometown of Omemee, Ontario to downtown Toronto.
Following his success with Midnight in Paris (see review in June 2011 edition), Woody Allen takes another European jaunt in To Rome With Love (opening July 6). A cast of US and local stars set down in the Italian capital for a series of romantic escapades. Allen himself appears on screen in one of the collection of stories, as does Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. The Canadian publicist asked media not to post reviews before the movie comes out, which is rarely a good sign, not to mention fairly pointless in the internet age. But early reviews suggest a frivolous, enjoyable movie that is typical Allen, although not his best.
Robert Alstead writes at www.2020Vancouver.com.