Take this Waltz & Your Sister’s Sister

Last week I was discussing a film (Take this Waltz) with a volunteer, and they encouraged me to start an Images Cinema Blog to write about film. I used to write about film for the Berkshire Eagle (very small pieces, several years ago), and lately I’ve been missing it… so here we are!

Upon seeing Take this Waltz, I lamented two conversations in the film. If only those conversations weren’t there, it would be an great movie! But then for several days after seeing it, I was either thinking about or talking about it with anyone who would discuss it, and it seemed like everyone who had seen it also wanted to talk about it at length. Through this process, I found myself thinking more positively about the film, and came to this conclusion: what the film does right far outweighs any missteps. And if a film inspires that much thought and conversation, it’s doing something right.

To those of you who might have left during the sex montage: yes, maybe it was a little uncomfortable, but it was also funny! And by leaving when you did, you missed the entire point of the movie.

All of my life, I’ve been force-fed stories of love and destiny, of relationships that were “meant to be.” From Serendipity (my least favorite movie ever) to Amelie (a movie I liked for a long time, and only recently began to have problems with), romantic comedies tell us love will find us, with no effort on our parts! This is not a healthy attitude to have (and one I had to unlearn)! As a person who just got married, and foresee hardship mixed in with the glee, this is not a realistic vision of relationship!

So I’m happy that the women in Take this Waltz and Your Sister’s Sister were the deciders. Whether for good or ill, they made a choice, and then they stood by it, rather than just standing by, while others made decisions for them!

Spoiler alert. My favorite aspect of Your Sister’s Sister was at a crucial point, after everyone is angry at everyone else, the two sister’s hang out together, forgive each other, and make a plan for their intertwined lives together. Jack’s return, although important as well, also doesn’t feel necessary to the conclusion of the film. And that is why I disagree with my husband Brendan’s discontentment with the film’s ultimate conclusion. Take a look at Images Cinema’s new video review show, In the Booth, for Brendan’s opinion.

If you hadn’t noticed, the directors for both Take the Waltz and Your Sister’s Sister are both women (Sarah Polley and Lynne Shelton)! That might be a first, having back to back films both directed by women, at Images Cinema. Even though Images probably plays more films by women directors than the multiplex, they are still relatively few and far between. I’ve been really glad to see a recent surge of films written and directed by women, or films about women in their complexity. Upcoming, we have Ruby Sparks starting on 9/14, written by Zoe Kazan and co-directed by Valerie Faris.

I’d love to hear what you think about Take this Waltz, Your Sister’s Sister, whether there is a double standard for women filmmakers, or what’s your favorite realistically complex female character from a film?

~Janet, Managing Director

About janetmcurran

Janet Curran is the Managing Director of Images Cinema. She watches most everything that shows at the cinema, and usually has an opinion about it!
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1 Response to Take this Waltz & Your Sister’s Sister

  1. Janet, great idea to start a blog about films! I’m going to see My Sister’s Sister tonight, so I can’t address that film. Your comments about romantic love rang very true for me too. We’re fed so many fairy tales about “love and marriage” that are unrealistic. That’s one of the reasons I love Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into The Woods”. Be careful what you wish for, because it’s never the same when it comes true.
    The lead characters in “I’ve Loved You So Long” were sisters too, and very complex characters. I loved the way the story developed, and the director had you learn the history behind the sister’s relationship, and the family tragedy. By the end of the film, the characters were understood, and there was great empathy for them. Grief is an interesting process to address in a film, but it’s rarely shown through a sibling relationship.

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