1. TAKE THIS WALTZ
Director: Sarah Polley
Stars: Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman
When was the last time a romantic comedy stuck with you days—hell, even hours after the closing credits rolled? Take This Waltz, the quietly devastating though often very funny love-gone-south dramedy from actress turned writer/director Sarah Polley, does exactly that. At the emotionally profound film’s center is Michelle Williams, in pristine and exceedingly sympathetic form as a married woman (her beau is played by a restrained and on-target Seth Rogen) tempted by the forbidden fruit of a charming, free-spirited neighbor (Luke Kirby).
The film smacks your heart around with every one of Williams’ impactful reactions and moments of internalized anguish, and how it all plays out is a testament to Polley’s honesty as a filmmaker. Come to think of it, Take This Waltz isn’t actually a “rom-com”; though, on a surface level, it does resemble one of those schmaltzy flicks, it’s human drama of the utmost clarity. More concerned with treating her characters with unsafe honesty, Polley never takes the easy way out, leading to quick, unforeseeable swerves into impure joy and raw heartbreak.