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Netflix fix: Take a waltz, take a chance with an indie movie

By by Luis Rendon/lrendon@vicad.com
Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.
Updated Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.

A still screen from the indie flick, "Take This Waltz."

WATCH THIS IF .

'Jesus Henry Christ'

•  PG-13

• 1 hour, 32 minutes

Watch this if you love Toni Collette, boy geniuses and stories about family.

'Tyrannosaur'

• Not Rated

• 1 hour, 32 minutes

Watch this if you believe there is good and evil in all of us. Heads up though, "Tyrannosaur" is a hard watch. Turn on the captions and get ready to squirm.

'Like Crazy'

• PG-13

• 1 hour, 30 minutes

• Watch this if you need convincing that you made the right decision by not going through with that long distance relationship.

Watching a well-made indie movie is like solving a puzzle or taking a bite into a particularly scrumptious bite of food. It's more artisan bread, less Big Mac and fries. More vintage couture gown, less Forever 21 halter top. It's entertainment that doesn't pander but rather challenges.

Aside from the Victoria Independent Film Festival, which now gives us a taste of movies like this every year, we're woefully devoid of these opportunities to challenge our movie-going palates.

Lurking in the corners of Netflix lives a treasure of indie movies just waiting for your consumption. The Blockbuster-killing company is ripe with strange and exotic offerings that maybe you'd never consider before.

Take the Canadian offering, "Take This Waltz" (Rated R, 1 hour, 56 minutes), for example.

This sexy 2011 drama stars Michelle Williams as Margot, a married woman who needs to make a decision about her marriage after she starts falling in love with a man who lives across the street.

Williams, who has so many Oscar nominations I can't even count them, is great as always, but it's her husband, Lou, played by Seth Rogen, who really stands out to me. We've seen glimpses of Rogen being deep and affected in "50/50," also starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, but watching his heart break in this movie really shows how great of an actor he can be given the right material.

Luke Kirby plays the other man in question, Daniel. As the passionate and eloquent artist/rickshaw driver, Daniel is the opposite of the comfortable Lou, a man of few words. Kirby takes the role to its limit, always sizzling on screen, begging Margot to take the plunge with every eyebrow raise and lick of the lips.

The fire on screen between Margot and Daniel versus the lovely and sweet connection between Margot and Lou makes the story so uncomfortable to watch. Every time the two pairs are on screen you root for them - you honestly believe this love triangle could be split in half and be fine with either equation.

Writer/director Sarah Polley goes after romance with a dagger in her story. There is no glory, no happy ending where following your heart makes everything okay. The movie isn't trying to fool anyone, and it's refreshing to see such honest characters who, at the very least, respect each other enough to tell the truth. An episode of "Gossip Girl" this is not.

Also making a surprisingly thoughtful appearance as Lou's alcoholic sister Geraldine is funny lady Sarah Silverman. Silverman has few scenes, but she makes them count - always grasping at Williams to come back to earth from her romantic buzz.

The movie, in its essence, is a story about decisions and living with them. Through Margot and Lou, Polley tells a story of what we leave behind when we start to explore greener grass.

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