I loved and hated moments of Sarah Polly’s 2012 examination of love and the complications of relationships. On one hand it is unfiltered look at the difficulty of modern relationships, on the other hand it is too forgiving to the idea of the lost soul and consequences of your actions.
Margot played by Michelle Williams is a late 20’s writer who lives an ideal life with her husband of 5 years, Lou (Seth Rogan). After meeting her artist neighbor Daniel, it becomes apparent that Margot is not as satisfied with the marriage as we are first lead to believe. Conversation with friends and interaction with Daniel clue us in that she is very confused inside, searching for a connection that she doesn’t have with Lou. She keeps her emotions, feelings and desires locked up only to let them out at inopportune times which only serve to push them further back down the dark well that they hide in.
Her friendship with Daniel, innocent at first as they just spend fun times together, becomes more and more involved with each of their meetings. Quick conversations as they walk down the street turn into trips to the coffee shop as he presses all of the right buttons exposing her unsatisfied life which coincides with her feelings of anxiety. You see the walls begin to cave in when Daniel shows Margot a painting that he made of her which shows a woman split in two. While Margot outwardly rejects his portrayal of her as a “lost soul”, you can tell that she is more embarrassed by the fact that her unhappiness has been exposed. You also get an uneasy feeling that Daniel is a little bit on the psycho/manipulative side as every one of his actions is just to increase his chances of stealing Margot away from Lou. Pretty sleazy……
We see her alcoholic sister in-law (played by Sarah Silverman) dish some harsh realities to Margot, only to be ultimately ignored and the innocent husband Lou remain naive to the fact that he is losing his wife. The only person that matters to Margot is Margot. Promises are made, compromises are made and a marriage evolves before your eyes but the conclusion will not fare well with all.
I enjoyed the film on most counts as it is very well acted and the directing by Polly, while it has some flaws in technical approach, serves to tell the story. This is a very raw look at the complexities of marriage and relationships and sadly is a reminder of how little people value marriage. Margot seemingly blazes through life with very little thought as to anyone but herself. I beg the question as to what she was doing in the marriage in the first place? If it was built all on the surface, with no depth, how did it make it as long as it did? I enjoyed the implications by Silverman that people will always like the “new thing” (Daniel) more than the tried and true. Asking “is it worth trading all that in (her happy marriage) for something that I might not like in 10 years?”. It seems as though these little moments are ultimately ignored by Margot and she continues to try to find reasons to leave her husband instead of trying to bridge the gap. Pushing things that are destined to fail only to help reenforce her fading feelings for him. In one moment Margot interrupts Lou’s cooking for spontaneous intimacy, in which he rejects. This is desperation, not building, and I have a hard time empathizing with her, but we are still expected to rally around her tortured soul. These are just small faults and it is very possible that I am not supposed to support Margot.
The dizzying love sequence towards the end of the film played more for laughs than I think that it intended to but the film does shine a pretty fair (albeit humbling) light on the complexities of relationships. Margot, Dan and Lou connect with a lot of us and it can be a little embarrassing to have our faults so plainly displayed, as cracks turn into chasms. Discomfort aside, Sarah Polly delivered the sad (but bold) statement of modern love and did so with a keen eye to details and the confidence which is rarely displayed in similar films.
Score – 8.5/10