While on a plane ride back to Toronto from a writing assignment, Margot meets Daniel, a handsome stranger. An immediate attraction is formed and Margot is able to open up and discuss some of her fears and longings. A taxi ride back home causes Daniel and Margot to realize that they are neighbours and Margot admits she's married. The summer-time heat and her increasing fascination with the handsome artist who lives across the street starts getting to her, and Margot is no longer sure if she's happy in her marriage or if she'd be happier with her fantasies with Daniel.Written by
Polley and Williams Take Us on Quite a Precarious Dance
Sarah Polley proves her impressive directorial and screen writing debut, 2006's "Away from Her" starring a luminous, Oscar-nominated Julie Christie as an Alzheimer's patient, was no fluke with this incisive look at a most inchoate love triangle. With a title taken from Leonard Cohen's cultish song, this clear-eyed yet melancholic 2012 drama once again showcases Polley's prodigious acumen in capturing the complexity of adult relationships without casting blame or judgment on the parties involved. The focal point of the triangle is 28-year-old Margot, an aspiring writer from Toronto on an assignment in Nova Scotia to write the copy for a travel brochure on historic Louisbourg. There she meets Daniel, also from Toronto where he is a struggling artist and a rickshaw driver. An attraction is almost immediate but not consummated. When they fly home on the same plane, Margot discovers he lives just across the street from her, which complicates matters since she's been married for five years to Lou, a cookbook author specializing in chicken dishes. Their marriage is comfortable, and their interactions reflect a lived-in familiarity marked by cute practical jokes and quirky riffs of humor.
But what Margot sees in Daniel is something that's been missing in her life, a sexual spark that excites her, even though she dares not act upon it since she really does love Lou in spite of his foibles - including a certain apathy about their relationship that he thinks is perfectly normal. She could see spending the rest of her life with Lou, but she wonders if he is her soul-mate or whether it's worth the risk to find out if Daniel is really the one. Blinded by desires she had yet to tap in her marriage, Margot knows if she acts upon those feelings, there will come some point where she'll have to make a hard decision between Lou and Daniel. Michelle Williams captures Margot's inner conflict with palpable empathy as you see her character expose her thoughts in moments of quiet in which she is the harshest judge of her actions. It's a shining performance which compares favorably to her evocative Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn". There is a deliberate vagueness to the two men. As Daniel, Luke Kirby ("Mambo Italiano") manages to convey the lure of "the other man" without coming across as despicable even though it's clear he wants her from afar. At the same time, it's clear that Margot and Daniel have little in common, and they make you wonder how sustainable their relationship could be.
Seth Rogen does something surprising in this film – he acts. He still doesn't stray that far away from his shaggy-dog comic persona, but he realistically shows how Lou's contentment and impassivity bring Margot both lasting security and unresolvable fear and longing. Similarly, Sarah Silverman makes her few scenes count as Lou's plainspoken sister Geraldine, who is married with two kids and an alcoholic just out of rehab, especially when she tells Margot what she thinks of her ultimate decision. That Polley can coax such fine dramatic work from Rogen and Silverman is a credit to her growing confidence as a filmmaker. As a native Canadian, she also presents Toronto as a setting with its own unique identity (versus other directors who use it as a double for New York or Chicago), and her cinematographer Luc Montpellier brings a lushness to the images that adds to the intoxication Margot is feeling. There are still flaws – the ramshackle pace adds to an already lengthy 116-minute running time, and the climactic time-lapse montage feels out- of-place for a film that had tread so lightly before. Regardless, this film should play on a double bill with David Lean's "Brief Encounter" to show how mores have evolved about infidelity over seventy years. Whatever the outcome may be, the bottom line is that there are no easy answers.
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