Sarah Polley’s sophomore film, Take This Waltz, is a far cry from the weighty and affecting movie I had expected after reading early reviews. In fact, for much of the movie I found myself at a loss for words, as I tried without success to find anything to justify watching this film. By the end of the movie I had exactly two positive things to say. The film had a strong cast, and it contains one memorable and mildly amusing practical joke.
Strangers Margot (Michelle Williams) and Daniel (Luke Kirby) find an immediate connection with each other after meeting on a plane, only to discover they’re actually neighbors. This budding romance proves to be an issue for Margot as she begins to reconsider her marriage to Lou (Seth Rogan). The fundamental problem with this movie is the story telling is too weak to actually make you sympathize with Margot and her conflicted emotions, and instead, I ended up feeling sorry for Seth Rogan whose wife has just started treating him like dirt for no apparent reason. The characters are poorly realized, making nearly all the emotional payoffs for this movie fall flat.
Take This Waltz exemplifies everything that is wrong with indie films. Of course it feels obligated to fill itself with obnoxious moments that serve little purpose other than making the movie apear “cutesy” and instead come off as intensely annoying. Rather then constructing the relationship between Margot and her husband, Polley instead gives us a plethora of scenes consisting of the two playing cute little games, and I would argue the two don’t have one real conversation during the entire movie. While directors like Wes Anderson effectively use color schemes to add a tone to their movies, Polley drowns this film in an awful rainbow of color, most likely to distract the reader from the terrible writing and ridiculously unrealistic characters.
While the actually writing is not always dreadful, it clashs with the tone of the film so drastically that it cannot possibly be overlooked. The dialogue is fantastical and extremely unrealistic, which wouldn’t be inherently bad if it weren’t for that fact that Take This Waltz tries to present itself as an emotionally realistic relationship drama. The movie fails on both levels, as it is neither realistic nor particularly thought provoking, although the film clearly believes it is both.
This movie is technically listed as a drama/comedy, but it’s a horrible drama, and could only be considered funny if the entire film was a big practical joke Polley was playing on the audience. The attempts at humor throughout the film fall flat, and most of the “jokes” consist of Williams and Rogan graphically describing how they would kill each other, you know, like real couples do. If you can’t tell by now, I would recommendation you don’t see this movie, and to paraphrase a line from the movie, by the end of this film I wanted to gouge my eyes out with a melonballer.
Rating: 1 out of 5