I am so surprised I hated it! And the more I think about it, the more surprised I am that I really hated it! Not going to go on and on and on about it, but this is a personal reason why I was already biased toward the film: I hate Vikings. Ok granted - I don't know anything about them, but I hate the way they are portrayed in media. They are messy, disgusting, disorganized, brawl all the time, wear ugly clothes, are ugly themselves, and have stupid things to say. So, already didn't like it from scene 1. Nonpersonal reason: This is supposed to be a female empowerment movie, but it is so, so not. I'm fine with Princess Merida going out into the world and deciding what she wants and who she wants to marry, but that is not this film. This film is about an adolescent quarrel she's having with her mother, then gradually getting over that quarrel by un-turning her mother out of being a bear by teaching her mother how to eat fish and be ok with being naked. It's a very contained sort of feminine empowerment, and doesn't involve any of the normal things girls do to gain independence, like fight in wars or speak maturely or create beautiful products. Why does Woody save all the toys from being incinerated, Marlin battles through the entire ocean and land to rescue his son, and WALL-E manages to let all the humans return to the world safely, but all Princess Merida does is accidentally turn her mother into a bear and then un-turn her from being a bear by clumsily stitching a tapestry together?
Many people have said this before, but I agree: this one feels more like Sarah Polley's first, rather than Away From Her. But that doesn't make this film any less interesting. What I really appreciated about "Take This Waltz" was that it doesn't waste any breath trying to make us like Margo, Lou, or Daniel. They are people who act merely as (mostly) wordless characters in this tone poem of illicit desire and feminine independence. Yet there are legitimately human, realistic moments in this film that we can blushingly recognize from our own relationships, notably Margo and Lou's cloying alien speak and their bizarre ritual of "I love so much I want to gauge your eyes out with a melon baller" dialogues. And the silent dinner on their anniversary, oh my goodness. Having sex because there's nothing else to say. Oof. It's a kinda messy and fractured sort of film but I rather like its amateurish style - I don't like overtly stylized films when they're dealing with simple themes. And it reminded me a little bit of Drake Doremus's "Like Crazy" and its fairly simple message on relationships - only "Like Crazy" was totally gorgeous and totally empty (in an awesomely tolerable way, though) and "Take This Waltz" is slightly less gorgeous and much less empty.
I did not like this movie, it was so awkward! I don't understand why so many others found this cute or precious or realistic or whatever. If saying "I think I am in love with you" automatically equals love, then ok, hand clap for you, Wes Anderson. It was soooo pretty but soooo empty.