It's a Film on How the "Other Half Lives" ...
Or possibly the other 5%, if the truly weird do walk among us, sniff our same air, taste our manner of nutrition. Or maybe the folks in Toronto, Canada, where this movie was actually based and filmed, embrace this unique brand of bizarre behavior, where despondency leads to incredible conduct in the female lead of Margot, played by Michelle Williams: as a young adult peeing in the public pool, on the receiving end - successfully - of sex-talk in a public place from a veritable stranger, marital estrangement leading to copious sexual three-ways, and to top it off - public nakedness in the public bathhouse with Sarah Silverman and somebody's grandmother. I pray not ... the Toronto folks.
To continue, in respect to the variety of all manner of the aforementioned "three-ways," and that shower scene - especially of Sarah Silverman, with her leg cocked high, so she could reach her most hidden and private recesses for the object of personal hygiene - again with somebody's grandmother standing, seemingly lost in another's world - my world, and it was definitely "over the top," and more than any one male reviewer should be called upon to witness, and bear to repeat ... including the three-ways, which fortunately were tastefully brief.
But still one has to beg: What was the purpose here? Was it to shock our senses to the reality that impish girls become women of the age of some sensual majority, where they may enter into all manner of adult behavior, without the responsibility of any adult thought.
What was the cinematic breakthrough here in Writer / Director Sarah Polley's "groundbreaking" achievement? Was it that we toss all real adult sensibilities aside and embrace the off-beat lifestyle of the socially eccentric Margot, as she considers an alternative path to her maturation of a nirvana of spiritual drifting, shifting inconsistency of any logical purpose or plan? Its was completely Sarah Polley's 116 minute film, as its creative agent, and it was her desire that we celebrate, or at least try to understand this self-absorption of arbitrary motive within our confused young heroine's irregular life choices.
For me, personally, I could not philosophically make that leap. Furthermore, I can't realistically fathom that any real person of any measurable substance could see any real value in this "risk taking" film of this despondent, purposeless young-adult-becoming-sexual-maven as Margot, Michelle Williams again, achieves metamorphic enlightenment in stages, often to the scored strains of 80's Synthpop song "Video Killed the Radio Star," which, melodically for me, only made it all ever more weird, and unbearable to watch.
As an audience, we really meet Margot being pushed in wheeled chair through a Canadian airport. Her malady: She has a psychosis that prevents her from being able to function in this enclosed space of moving from Point A - arrival at the terminal, to point B - departure on an aircraft, and must be wheeled by an attendent. And while this quirky behavior may seem quaint to some, or an obvious symbolic metaphor to others - expressing how Margot cannot complete her life line employing any method of purpose - I found the behavior pathetic, and the symbolic gesture employed by Writer / Director Polley trite as a representation of Margot's obvious abnormal behavior as new age chic. Regardless, I found it impossible to sympathize with this introduction into the unrealistic pathos of Michelle William's self-absorbed character.
Furthermore, I found her relationship with her husband, Lou, played by Seth Rogen, essentially contrived, but in an very odd way: they talk baby-talk to each other, then devolve into sadistic promises of retributive abuse using all manner of utensils as a matter of sexual foreplay. After those weak moments of romance, Margot just sits or lays around, while Lou invents chicken dishes for his inaugural cookbook, featuring chicken ... big surprise here in this "fairy-tale" marriage.
Margot is obviously bored with her marriage, her life, and not terribly busy in any career path, and therefore susceptible to stray in the fidelity category, as one might suspect - not me in particular - but obviously Writer Director Polley felt it to be a reasonable premise for Margot to leap into her new pseudo introspective life with "Mr. Right."
Enter Daniel, played by Luke Kirby, who finances his "art for art's sake" unexposed art interests by pulling a Rickshaw through the streets of Toronto. How interesting. He takes an interest in the married Margot, and instantly Margot finds an aroused interest in Daniel's sweet, rather unrefined and most descriptive, talk to the point of orgasmic bliss in that aforementioned public place, and Margot, as we know her, was never the same again.
It's all over Lou. So, you keep cooking your chicken, talking the baby-talk and the other goofy sadistic speak as your manner of cute romantic expression, but be advised, as we we all must be, of this one immutable fact: The maker of this film, Sarah Polley, is going to spend the balance of this film pushing Margot away from you and into the artistically expressive Daniel's lair of many delights, so she find some measure of passion with Dan the Man, or whomever from the variety of ensuing sexual three-ways contrived as some sort of allegorical expression of womanly need.
And while many will find this story of the pathetic woman lost in life, lost in love obviously distasteful, I just found it incredibly boring and awkwardly pretentious. The film is essentially just a pity piece fraught with arcane symbolism and shallow sadness, and ultimately, it fails on every level of respectable filmaking. I am thankful for this one small gift from the young Writer / Director Polley's bag of cinematic gifts: No more naked grandmothers for the rest of the film, and the crotch scrubbing Sarah Silverman just that once.
So thank-you Sarah Polley for that one fine favor, and many well regards from the heartland of America. I just cannot recommend your film, but it was just weird enough, and your box office receipts small enough, that it may yet get some Hollywood recognition and an award. Consequently; however, I could not crow in your favor, just can't. From my perspective, we are worlds apart as to what is artful story telling. Sorry.
Rated R. Released in theaters July 1, 2012.