American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Michelle Williams has such an angelic presence that her very sweetness threatens to undermine Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz." Here is a woman who asks for our sympathy while living a lifestyle that will be the envy of most everyone in the audience. Even her romantic quandary involves a choice between two really nice men. I have great admiration for her as an actress, but this story might have been better told with a less lovable star.
She plays Margot, a marginally employed free-lance writer who lives in a Toronto neighborhood that looks like a production designer's wet dream. The quaint houses with multicolor paint jobs are close to charming little cafes and restaurants and repertory theaters; although there are neighborhoods a little like that in the city, you can't afford to live there if your husband's only employment is spending the last five years writing a chicken cookbook.
Her husband is Lou (Seth Rogen), played with that shaggy likability that allows Rogen to charm the pants off a film. Lou is not, alas, a passionate man, and his wife spends much time basking in the warm glow of the window of an oven door, while thinking pensively about how he could be preoccupied with chicken while married to such an adorable creature.
She is not lacking for adoration, however. Even before we meet Lou, she has met Daniel (Luke Kirby) while doing a story in Nova Scotia. Wouldn't you know they're seated next to each other on the flight home? He calls her bluff when she's helped aboard in a wheelchair; she claims her legs are unreliable, and then confesses she asks for wheelchairs because she has panic attacks when making airport connections. This problem is a tad too precious for a healthy girl still in her 20s.