Before Take This Waltz was even available through Video On Demand (which it currently is) and before its theatrical debut (June 29) so much has been made of comedian Sarah Silverman's full-frontal nude scene. How do I know it? Well, besides anecdotal evidence, a quick look at Laughspin's statistics showed me some pretty popular search terms that brought a few thousand users to the site -- searches like: "sarah silverman nude," "sarah silverman naked," "take this waltz shower scene," "take this waltz nude scene," "Sarah Silverman topless," annnnd... you get the point.
Having made the rounds at film festivals earlier this year, I suppose it's natural to keep rehashing the most superficially interesting part of a movie that film goers (outside of industry and lucky festival attendees) have not yet seen. It's difficult to relate the beautifully shot scenes, director and writer Sarah Polley's brilliant use of colors (blue, especially), the fact that Seth Rogen can act, immaculate dialogue and the wholly un-Hollywood-ness of the Toronto-based production, in a few seconds.
But, since I took advantage of the film's VOD status a few weeks ago -- $10 well spent, by the way -- I'm finally able to put the scene in context, a scene about which Silverman had begged her fans: "Please, lower your expectations." And if your expectations were to see the natural beauty's naked bod entwined with another or in some other similarly rated-R-typical sex scene, she's right. You should lower your expectations. Because it is not erotic in the least.
Before we get to the scene, let's back up a bit. Michelle Williams plays Margot, a 28-year-old gal on the verge of her five-year wedding anniversary with Lou (Rogen). Happily married, but embattled about her station in life, she becomes enamored with handsome, free-spirited neighbor Daniel (played well by Luke Kirby). While Silverman has the least amount of screen time of all the four major players, her role as Lou's sister Geraldine, a married mother, close friend to Margot and recovering alcoholic, is an important one. I won't tell you why exactly, because that would spoil the movie -- and you should see the movie, so I'm not going to spoil it.
So, on to the full frontal nude scene, which I am going to spoil in words (and in images here) -- not only for reasons connected to the editorial content of this post but also to diffuse would-be theater goers or Video On Demand-ers from watching the film solely for the scene in question. (I'm sure Polley didn't get these women nude to get asses in the seats). Also, I'm sure the scene will be online soon enough, if it isn't already.
As part of her recovery, Geraldine has been adding structure to her day and adopting healthy habits, one of which is a water aerobics class, to which she brings Margot, who's all-too-happy to escape her home, where Lou is almost always cooking chicken (possible additions for his upcoming book). After the abrupt (and funny) end to the class (again, no spoilers!), the ladies naturally head to the locker room for a shower. And it's the conversation between Margot, Geraldine and a third lady -- and not Silverman's nakedness -- that takes center stage. A superbly-written dialogue about marriage and fleeting beauty commences, as the scene's shot toggles from the trio to other women of all ages and shapes. The takeaway: In the realm of marriage or any long-lasting relationship, looks mean nothing; excitement means nothing-- and certainly the desire to jump the bones of your significant other for eternity doesn't exist; and all of that is OK. It's not an original thought, of course, but it hasn't been expressed in a comedy film as eloquently as it is here, since High Fidelity did it 12 years ago.
The point is this, folks: Take This Waltz is a great flick and you should check it out in theaters when it opens on Friday, or watch it now through whatever VOD service you like. Personally, I'd love to see Silverman in bigger, even more understated, dramatic roles. She's got a gift, and it's not just slinging jokes.