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Laramie Movie Scope:
Take This Waltz

A confused and confusing woman moves on

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 30, 2012 -- This slice-of-life character study doesn't tell the whole story, not by a long shot. Rather, this is a glimpse into a short part of the life of a woman who seems a lot like an enigma.

Margo (played by Michelle Williams of “My Week With Marilyn”) is a writer whose chance encounter with a neighbor, Daniel (Luke Kirby of “Labor Pains”) causes her to reconsider her marriage to her adoring husband, Lou (Seth Rogan of “50/50”). Lou is a cook who writes cookbooks. He is often at the stove, trying out new recipes.

Margo and Lou seem to get along pretty well, but Margo is awfully moody. They both like to kid around, playing games with each other. In one scene Lou and Margo are horsing around, having fun. Then Lou tries to kiss her, but she decides she doesn't want to be kissed right then. Lou is upset and walks away, frustrated. Nevertheless, they are an interesting couple. Lou is warm and witty and Margo is has a quirky, compelling beauty. Both are playful.

Margo finds herself distracted by Daniel, who lives across the street. He owns a rickshaw and hauls tourists around with it. He also paints in his spare time. Margo begins to meet with Daniel and spend time with him. She likes Daniel, but doesn't want to get involved. Daniel tires of this dalliance and moves away, but Margo still can't stop thinking about him. She has become bored with her marriage and begins to fantasize a new life with Daniel.

A rift appears and grows in Margo and Lou's marriage as evidenced by the following encounter:

Margo tries to seduce Lou when he is at the stove, cooking one of his recipes for a cookbook. He tells her he wants to finish cooking. She is hurt. She looks at him and says, “Do you know it takes courage to do that?”

“To do what?” Lou asks.

“To seduce you. It takes all my courage and you are teaching me to be utterly and completely without bravery,” she says.

“It takes courage to seduce your husband?” Lou asks.

“Yes. It takes all the courage in the world,” she replies.

“Well, that's ridiculous.” Lou says.

“Is it? Well then why do you always prove that I was right? When I feel like I'm taking a great risk, you consistently prove that I was right and that it was a greater risk than I could manage?”

“What the fuck are you talking about? I'm just making chicken.” says a bewildered Lou.

“You are always making chicken” replies Margo.

Lou's alcoholic sister, Geraldine (Sarah Silverman of “The School of Rock”) goes on a bender one day, which makes it easier for her to tell Margo what she really thinks of her.

“You just disappeared Margo. What a fucking obvious move. You think everything can be worked out if you just make the right move? ... I think you're a bigger idiot than I am. I think you really fucked up Margo. In the big picture, life has a gap in it. It just does. You don't go crazy trying to fill it like some lunatic.”

It appears that Geraldine was right about Margo. She made a mistake. She thought she could leave the mundane details of life behind and live in some kind of romantic never-never land if she made the right move. She finds out that wherever you go, and whoever you are with, you still have to face yourself at some point.

The acting in this film is superb. The characters are interesting. I found the character of Margo irritatingly enigmatic. Her mood swings are almost as bad as you would expect from a manic depressive. I expect that Daniel would have, at some point, experienced the same frustration with her as Lou did, but the movie doesn't go that far. It doesn't show the whole picture, just a tiny slice of life. It seems incomplete and unsatisfying. Nonetheless, it seemed to me that this film made Michelle Williams seem even more sexy and beautiful than she was as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn.” She is quite the vision. It rates a B.

The name of the movie, by the way, comes from a Leonard Cohen song of the same name, which is heard on the soundtrack of the film.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2012 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)