A slow burn of a film about the reality of love, marriage, insecurity and the grass being greener on the other side of the fence.
Written and directed by Sarah Polley, this film tells the story of Margot, an ostensibly happily married woman who's eye begins to wander when she meets the charming artist/rikshaw driver across the street.
Margot is excellently played by Michelle Williams. She is an interesting mix of quietly confident, insecure, unfulfilled dreamer who doesn't know what she wants from her life. Her husband Lou is played by Seth Rogen in an understated dramatic performance, even if his character is a little thin and 2 dimensional at times. The new love interest Daniel is played by Luke Kirby, and he's kind of the male version of the manic pixie dream girl, except he's all confidence, charm, smouldering intensity and artistic earthiness. Just don't ask how he can pay his rent pulling rikshaws for a living. He's an unrealistic dream character that is there to serve as a distraction and make Margot question her marriage.
The film really is all about Margot, and she is great character. She really feels like an actual person, slightly annoying at times, well intentioned, good at embarrassing herself and generally not able to cope with a life that lacks any purpose. Her relationship with Lou feels real when dealing with the minutiae of day to day life. They have silly couple games and favourite ways of annoying each other. Sadly Lou's obtuse nature doesn't feel realistic all of the time. Margot is needy and Lou doesn't know how to deal with that neediness, so he just focuses on the task at hand. They've been married for 5 years, and it can't be just now that Margot's neediness has surfaced, so his inability to even connect with her or console her is one of the few parts of the film that feels unrealistic. Maybe we're supposed to think this neediness is a new thing that has sprung up since Margot has become tempted, but that doesn't ring true to me.
The other true star of this film is the city of Toronto. Polley makes it look vibrant and colourful and a place I would like to see for myself.
This film isn't for everyone. It has some shortcomings that can't be ignored, and some of the subject matter might irritate people. But where it fails a bit on an intellectual level it makes up for on an emotional level and an artistic level. It really is a beautifully shot film, that deserves a watch if you enjoy romantic dramas.