6 Cynical Movies About Romance

1) Take This Waltz

I’ve probably said this too many times, but Sarah Polley is one of the great underappreciated directors making movies today. Perhaps it’s my Canadian bias, but I find her handling of love stories to be of a very unique style, capturing both aspects of the excitement of new feelings and the heartbreak of the inevitable end of all relationships. She seems convinced—and if you see Stories We Tell, her documentary from this past year, maybe it’s clear why she thinks this way—that all romantic relationships are essentially sad, that despite how it appears at the outset, all romance is actually tragedy. This is kind of the idea of Romeo and Juliet, but it’s an idea that movies don’t express very often, and maybe they’re not particularly well suited to.

Take This Waltz is just a marvellous little film about the way relationships can and often do end: unceremoniously, untidily, unfortunately, unavoidably. Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen are pretty fantastic in their portrayal of a romance that is over for one of them before the other even realizes it. Williams especially does some incredible work as Margot, who seems far younger than Williams usually plays, or perhaps is only meant to seem naive. Her disillusionment with the fresh faced suitor she picks up with is the kicker here, revealing the certain level dissatisfaction that accompanies every relationship. It’s a romance that ends in the tragedy of finding out your perceived “special connection” is just like anything else.

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