“Take This Waltz” Review

jason July 6, 2012 7
“Take This Waltz” Review

Writer/Director: Sarah Polley

Stars: Michelle WilliamsSeth Rogen, Luke Kirby, and Sarah Silverman

I gained a lot of hope watching “Take This Waltz.” I’m around the same age as these characters and I feel like I’ve had relationships very close to the ones in this movie. There’s a scene where Lou (Seth Rogan) and Margot (Michelle Williams) get into an argument where she pleads for some kind of attention just so her own emotions make some sort of sense. Lou misses the subtext and says “What the fuck are you talking about? I’m making chicken?” I’ve done that before. It may not have been chicken, but I’ve obviously missed some important emotional event for a significant other and changed the entire relationship due to a goofy distraction. It’s not a great thing to relate to, but it is reassuring.

What would you do if you were in a pretty good relationship, but then ran into someone that caused emotional fireworks? You always dreamed about a fairytale-like connection, but just assumed it was a fantasy. What do you do? This is the scenario in “Take This Waltz.”

Lou and Margot have a fairly stable marriage going on for themselves. They live in a nice house, seem active, still have fun with each other, and keep a solid social life with friends and family. Then Margot meets Daniel (Luke Kirby). Daniel is a rickshaw… operator… runner… I’m going to go with operator. Daniel is a rickshaw operator with a background in wacky art. They have an immediate connection, and to top it all off he’s moving in across the street from Lou and Margot. She does her best to avoid Daniel and not let it effect her relationship with Lou, but things gradually twiddle down.

“Take This Waltz” looks great. I saw “The Amazing Spider-Man” on the same day and liked the look of this movie more than the $200 million superhero reboot. There are some gorgeous maneuvers, but it’s not gorgeous just for gorgeous’ sake. The angels and movement have a reason beyond recording the action. There are some long takes that let the chemistry of the actors play out. The soundtrack is also fairly ambient and sets the mood for the baffling emotions Margot is having.

There’s a thread on IMDB about this movie being a double standard. They’re claiming it empowers females to go with their gut when it comes to romance while demonizing men for doing the same. The trailer may depict that, but “Take This Waltz” does not glorify leaving your husband. If anything, it’s a testament to how confusing emotions can be and the repercussions of acting on them. “Take This Waltz” highlights some things that are needed for a relationship and the difference between that real relationship and a really good friend that you have sex with.

*Spoiler Aleter – Spoiler Alert – Spoiler Alert*

She does end up leaving Lou for Daniel and Lou has the best reaction you’re going to get. He’s heartbroken, but he cares about her enough to tell her to go find Daniel. That must have been the emotional equivalent of pissing glass, but Lou deems her happiness more important than his own. That’s what love is. Love’s not just about being happy with someone; happiness is important, but it’s just as important to be able to be miserable with someone. She had that with Lou. Lou would kiss her when she was peeing, while Daniel had to leave. Lou was willing to go through the trenches because he’s sharing his life with Margot – she’s just an activity for Daniel.

When Margot and Daniel first come together, sex is the center of their relationship (literally – there’s a wacky montage visually displaying it). At first I thought this montage was too heavy handed, but that relationship montage is the most important thing in this movie. Margot talks about these passing moments of emotion early in the film and whether it is a good idea to act on them. The answer is “you’ll probably never know.”

Alright, I’m getting too preachy and wordy. Here comes the random tidbit portion:

RANDOM TIDBITS:

– I wish I had a brother to fully appreciate “Warrior” and I wished to be a woman to fully appreciate “Take This Waltz.”

– Things I never thought I’d see: Michelle Williams peeing in a pool; Sarah Silverman and  Michelle Williams in a non-erotic shower scene, and Seth Rogen’s knees.

– I was blown away to find out Sarah Polley was the actress from “Go.”

– I liked this movie while watching it, but further thought made it one of my favorite movies of the year.

– You get a lot more elbow room if you’re attractive. Daniel says and does some creepy things, but I’m assuming he gets a pass for being handsome. If Seth Rogen (not saying he’s ugly) did the ‘what I would do to you’ speech, he would have been maced.

-“Take This Waltz” Drinking game:

– Take a drink when someone is crying.

– Take a shot when Seth Rogan is cooking chicken.

– Take a shot when Michelle Williams is in the bathroom.

(Warning: Playing the “Take This Waltz” drinking game will most likely result in alcohol poisoning or death)

 

7 Comments »

  1. Greg Verduin July 11, 2012 at 1:38 am - Reply

    Thank you for your review of Take This Waltz. I could not watch the film as it was far to painful for me. When my wife and I separated it was so much like the movie that I identified so strongly with the characters, especially lou that I have been ill ever since. What I would like to know is that by the movies end is Lou okay, what happens to him? I would love to know.

    • jason July 11, 2012 at 1:52 am - Reply

      SPOILERS FOR GREG:

      Lou turns out to be a-okay. He finishes his book and it turns out to be a success. Friends and family stick by him and he seems fairly happy. Margot on the other hand is not so great. Her relationship with Daniel is strictly based on sex and after their sex drives twiddles down they turn out not to be very compatible. She realizes Lou was something more and she ends up being as emotionally confused as ever.

      Not now, but when you’re ready, you may find it pretty enjoyable as it’s fairly honest, but endearing for Lou.

  2. Dale January 4, 2015 at 5:30 am - Reply

    Sorry to take exception from the first two comments, but, my wife and I watched this movie recently and we really did not like it. I think if the only character in the story making suggestions or decisions based on common sense is the alcoholic, you should probably rethink the story.

  3. Linda May 8, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Oh boo-hoo

    Everyone has a right to their opinion, even an alcoholic! Lol..
    The movie is a cautionary tale. Some people think a strong sexual relationship is enough, others would rather have unconditional love.
    I surmised from the ending, when she was alone on the ride, that she finally realized she needed to be on her own and do some soul searching, like all of us need to do….. Art imitating life!
    Everyone wants and/or needs different things. This movie attempts to show different points of view and make one think, that’s all.

    • jason May 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      Nice response.

  4. Kevin June 24, 2015 at 2:06 am - Reply

    I thought it was a cautionary tale at first, too, but what is it cautioning us against?

    Her happiness at the end confused whether she had any regrets. And if she didn’t have any regrets, then the message seems to be “whatever” and the subjectivity of value, as you ultimately conclude.

  5. Peter December 7, 2016 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Really she wanted something more, went with the other guy and he treated he like a piece of meat, if you are in a relationship and have threesomes there is no coming back from that. Anyone who is willing to “share” the love of their life in such an intimate setting is not in love at all. Also she ends up in the same boat after the start of a new exciting relationship wares off. Really in the end she is alone because she deserves to be alone, really what whore she is. When you find your soulmate (i am married 25 years and still very happy) isn’t one long romance its about love friendship companionship and living life.

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