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Movie Review: 'Take This Waltz' -- 3 stars

Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in "Take This

Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in "Take This Waltz" (Credit: Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen in "Take This Waltz")

Take This Waltz
3 stars
Directed by Sarah Polley
Starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman
Rated R

It's a fool's errand to rank the best actors and actresses in Hollywood, but Michelle Williams would have to be at or near the top of anyone's list.

At the center of every scene in Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz," she's the soul of the enterprise, performing one of those full-fledged disappearing acts into a character that you only get from the most gifted performers.

Williams plays 28-year-old Margot, a writer who meets and flirts with alluring stranger Daniel (Luke Kirby) over the course of a plane flight and shared cab ride. What seems to be the set-up for a classic romance is undercut, however, because Margot is comfortably married to kindhearted chicken cookbook author Lou (Seth Rogen). And, to make matters infinitely worse, Daniel lives down the street in their Toronto neighborhood.

Yet the film, which Polley wrote as well as directed, isn't about the development of an awkward love triangle, or about Margot's intense, sexually charged flirtations with Daniel. There are no villains here.

Instead, it's an intimate character study centered on the protagonist's restlessness, the nagging, unshakable sense that there's something better out there and she's missing it as age 30 rapidly approaches.

At times, the movie overdoses on stylistic whimsy, and Polley would have done well to tone down the occasionally oppressive hipster aura.

But the movie offers an uncommonly perceptive exploration of the complicated dynamics that inform and undercut what seems to be a happy relationship.

And most importantly, Williams' sublime, open-hearted work carries us with her as Margot experiences the pleasures and pains of that confusing journey we call life. 

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