Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Lola Versus vs. Take This Waltz, two romantic dramedies in which lovable actresses reckon with unfortunate romantic entanglements.
PremiseLola Versus opens with the titular Lola (Greta Gerwig) getting dumped three weeks before her upcoming nuptials. In order to bounce back from her heartthrob fiancé (Joel Kinnaman), Lola recruits her friends, Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Henry (Hamish Linklater) to aid her in a re-discovery of her single life, complete with barhopping and general dating malaise, all before her 30th birthday.
Meanwhile, Take This Waltz addresses reconciling one’s desires within the constraints of married life. Upon encountering Daniel (Luke Kirby), an attractive artist, on a flight back home, Margot (Michelle Williams) is caught between her happy, stable relationship with her husband, Lou (Seth Rogen), and her mounting interest in the artist, who has conveniently just moved in across the street. Both films address the age-old question: is there any hope for adorable blonde people to find true love? The mind reels. Torn between the fizzy emotional tumult of Lola (perhaps there’s a light-hearted makeover montage?) and the potential heartbreaking scenarios of Take This Waltz, we’re opting for the former in terms of feel-good factor.Advantage: Lola Versus
DirectorDaryl Wein, in addition to co-writing the Lola Versus script with Lister-Jones, directs; we remember him fondly from 2009’s Breaking Upwards. We know he has the whole “young and breaking up in New York” thing down pat, but we’re interested in seeing how he handles full-on comedy. Take This Waltz, meanwhile, is Canadian Sarah Polley’s seventh directorial effort. Her last feature, 2006’s devastating Away from Her, starring Julie Christie, was nominated for two Academy Awards, proving Polley as a certifiable force. Advantage: Take This WaltzLead ActressGreta Gerwig’s taken a spin in the rom-com world before (No Strings Attached; Arthur), and as evidenced by Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg (2010) and the trailer for Woody Allen’s upcoming To Rome With Love, not to mention her body of mumblecore work, she can do the neurotic thing too. However, Michelle Williams, who has played married on the screen before (albeit unhappily) in Blue Valentine, is top-notch in exposing the vulnerability of her characters. Take This Waltz highlights the moral vicissitudes Margot endures from meeting Daniel onwards—providing ample opportunity for Williams to showcase the emotional innards of her character.Advantage: Take This Waltz
Love InterestApart from the fiancé, Lola Versus has a pretty compelling group of group of men for Lola to embrace her singledom with, at least comedy-wise. Though Lola continues to grapple with her feelings for Luke, who keeps showing up and being annoyingly attractive, the lineup of her ill-suited suitors (an over-endowed incubator-baby guy, a Rollerblader) is pretty much the highlight at this point. And on the Take This Waltz side, Margot gets both Seth Rogen as her jovial cookbook-writing husband and Luke Kirby as the smoldering artist/pedicab driver. And incidentally, both Joel Kinnaman and Luke Kirby wear tight purple t-shirts in these trailers—is this a burgeoning trend for the “hot” guys in quirky rom-coms? Though Take This Waltz presents two quality lovers for Michelle Williams, Lola Versus wins out due to sheer quantity of ridiculousness.Advantage: Lola Versus
Moral SupportFrom the appearance of the trailer at least, Sarah Silverman is laying off the funny this time; she appears as Margot’s level-headed cigarette smoking confidante, Geraldine, in Take This Waltz. Conversely, Lola has her two best buddies, the quick-witted Alice and Henry (Lister-Jones and Linklater, respectively) to drag her out of the break-up rut and bring her back to the single gal they’ve always known and loved, whether it be pulling her off the stage at a strip club or lending her a Match.com profile. Additionally, Lola has Bill Pullman as her therapist—and Bill Pullman’s a pretty wise guy, so he gets the edge here. Advantage: Lola Versus
VerdictThough Take This Waltz, with its mix of star power and a morality-driven narrative, is certain to be a good film, we can’t keep away from the amusing whimsy of Lola Versus. It promises to be uncommitted fun, and for a summer romance, that’s exactly what we want. Winner: Lola Versus
For more Trailer Face-offs, click here.