THE WEDDING VIDEO
THE trailer for The Wedding Video is awful. The adverts are awful. Even the name is awful, inspiring the unique kind of dread that clings to movies about weddings. At first glance it looks like a low-rent remake of the stereotypical American “wedding movie,” which places a hord of ridiculous family members in a series of predictably calamitous events. However its absurdity falls neatly within the canon of British eccentricity, lifting it above its American counterparts.
If you don’t like the hand held camera, documentary approach, though, it may not be for you, as the film consists entirely of the eponymous video footage. It documents the build up to Tim (Robert Webb) and Saskia’s (Lucy Punch) nuptials, with the video doubling up as a wedding present from the groom’s outlandish brother Raif, who returns from his travels to act as best man; a role he continuously falls short of. The style isn’t exactly distracting but it is somewhat limiting, with laughs often sought through predictable “You’ve Been Framed” style sketches.
The Wedding Video’s saving grace is its cast. The overbearing, nouveau riche Cheshire mother, played by Harriet Walker, is great, as is her mother Patricia, brought to life by the brilliant Miriam Margoyles. These two, along with a fine performance from Rufus Hound as the affable brother Raif, somehow manage to prevent what could quite easily have turned into a complete car crash.
TAKE THIS WALTZ
Take this Waltz is a film that is easier to admire than it is to like. It centres around a young married couple, Margo and Lou, played by Michelle Williams and comic actor Seth Rogan, exploring how long-term relationships can effect love, happiness and sex.
Kooky Margo meets stranger Daniel while away on work, and feels an instant chemistry. On her return she finds that he lives just across the street and with this distraction so close to home she begins to question her seemingly great relationship with chef Lou. Torn between the comfort and intimacy she shares with her husband and the chance to encounter something new and exciting, we follow her on this exploration of desire and despair.
There is a poignancy to the whole affair, with director Sarah Polley highlighting that we are always searching for something else and questioning whether we can ever really be truly satisfied with what we have.
Set in Toronto, Polley beautifully captures the vitality of the city, with the vibrant, sensual colours of the hot summer months aptly reflecting Margo’s growing lust.
The problem is that, while visually sumptuous, you never completely warm to the characters. Intimate portrayals of Lou and Margo’s playful relationship paint the female lead as annoyingly needy, while Luke Kirby is simply not charismatic enough as Daniel. Take this Waltz isn’t short of charming moments but, in the end, your lack of empathy for the characters will leave you feeling dissatisfied.