"Everything New Gets Old"
What You Need To Know:
TAKE THIS WALTZ has a well-constructed script that’s sharply photographed and enhanced by a strong performance from Michele Williams as Margot. Sadly, however, the whole movie paints a world of despair. Everybody is looking for something they will never find. The filmmakers suggest that people must settle either for boring little lives, or transgress moral norms to keep life interesting, if even for just a brief moment. Ultimately, TAKE THIS WALTZ becomes an abhorrent, depressing exercise in existential nihilism and lust. Also, it contains extremely lewd, gratuitous content that should never have been allowed on screen.
(RoRoRo, HoHoHo, C, LL, SSS, V, NNN, AAA, D, MMM) Very strong, intense emotion-driven Romantic worldview, with the protagonist wrestling with and giving in to lust and living in melancholic ennui without any responsibility for the hurt she causes her husband, with very strong homosexual content in sex scene at the end and momentary Christian content when, in the opening sequence, the protagonist witnesses a marriage reenactment at a historical site, but this is quickly superseded by the heavy-handed symbolism of the reenactment of the town adulterer being whipped in public; strong language with 22 obscenities (mostly the “f” word) and two profanities, taking God's name in vain, as well as distasteful and inappropriate jokes (e.g., the husband telling his wife “I want to rape you with a pair of scissors until you bleed to death”), as well as scatology (e.g., the protagonist gets kicked out of aquarobics for urinating in the pool, and a woman shown sitting on toilet urinating), and during a lengthy scene, the lover described at length what he would do sexually to the protagonist; light comic violence in one scene when town adulterer is lightly whipped in public; very strong sexual content where nothing is left to the imagination in highly visual sex scenes at the end of the movie, that also include a threesome with another man, and yet another with another woman, and movie implies the sex is designed to spice things up and keep the new affair interesting; progressive nudity leading to extreme nudity, ranging from partial male and female frontal in shower and in bathing suit, to full frontal female nudity in locker room shower, to crude, in your face full body nudity with pubic areas exposed as protagonist has adulterous sex with lover); protagonist's friend is a recovering alcoholic who relapses in front of her daughter and husband, who has to call the cops to have her arrested; smoking cigarettes at party and at home; and, the whole movie is permeated with lying, cheating, a dysfunctional portrayal of family and marriage, and a generally depressing, hopeless worldview.
Just when viewers thought the self-centered, emotions-driven attitude of Romanticism couldn’t be driven home any more effectively by the movie industry, and that marriage couldn’t be reduced even more to an unnatural self-imposed state of humankind, along comes TAKE THIS WALTZ. The movie’s sure to disappoint media-wise adults and garner praise from critics for exploring what they construe to be the meaningless condition of human existence. TAKE THIS WALTZ shows that not only godless humanism but also godless Romanticism leads to nihilism.
When Margot meets Daniel, an artist who lives next door to her, she feels an instant attraction. Margot has been married to Lou, her loving, adoring husband, for five years. A state of boredom (or “ennui”) has set in their marriage. In fact, according to Writer/Director Sarah Polley, every marriage will inevitably fail because when you live with someone and know everything about him or her, there’s nothing interesting about the relationship anymore.
Margot resists for a while, but there can be no mistake from the outset. She will have an affair, leave her husband and hurt everyone around her, to have a wild, lust-filled relationship with her illicit lover. Of course, her new relationship with Daniel is also doomed because it will endure the same cycle of disintegration and boredom. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
TAKE THIS WALTZ is particularly dangerous because its well-constructed script is sharply photographed and enhanced by a strong, risk-taking performance by Michele Williams, who plays Margot. Thus, it makes a compelling case for the meaningless post-humanist existence en vogue among many writers and artists of the current generation. Thus, the whole movie paints a world of despair. Everyone is looking for something he or she will never find. The suggestion is that we must settle for our boring little lives or take risks and transgress ethical and moral norms to keep life interesting, if even for just a brief moment. Sadly, by eliminating the transcendent, Sarah Polley and her team obliterate any room for hope. They also include some extreme sexual content and explicit nudity.
Ultimately, TAKE THIS WALTZ becomes an abhorrent exercise in existential nihilism. Its only virtues are the technical ones cited above, but those techniques serve a flawed, misleading, and depressing teleology. Viewers will leave the theatre feeling that the world was brighter and more colorful before they entered it.