Synopsis: Gone with the Woman is the story of He, a male who hasn’t even got a name. And, without him fully grasping how it comes about, his life is invaded by a woman. The film tells the story of a man who is finally forced to decide how he is going to live his own life – and this is the woman’s merit.
Tatt av kvinnen 7.5
eyelights: its congenial protagonist. the gorgeous scenery. its lightly quirky vibe.
eyesores: the protagonist’s inability to say no.
‘Tatt av Kvinnen’ is a 2007 Norwegian comedy about a man who is being overwhelmed by the woman in his life but doesn’t quite know what to do about it. Our nameless protagonist can barely tolerate her at first, but then tries very hard to go with the flow, and even does his best to fall in love with her.
But it’s not as easy as that; they are actually polar opposites.
For instance, she runs on intuition, whereas he’s more cerebral. And she is a mass of contradictions: she comes to his apartment and switches off his music so that they can “hear the silence” – but, instead of basking in it, she just talks, talks, talks her way through it. And there’s no room for him to talk.
What’s really funny about the situation is that we are never told how they met and why she’s in his life if they’re not even a couple – they don’t even have sex together until he later decides to fall in love with her. So she’s just there, invading his space and controlling his life. They argue and make up.
They argue and make up.
They argue and make up.
They argue and make up.
It’s so absurd.
(Then again, make-up sex sometimes is best…)
The worst part of it is that, as he tries to love her, she starts to become more distant and makes it gradually more challenging for him. They even go on a trip together, with the destination decided upon randomly as they go along, based on her intuition. When they arrive, she ignores him completely.
So he leaves to make her miss him. It doesn’t work. When they later meet back up at his/their apartment, she decides that she is going to go work on a remote island. He arranges to go visit her regularly, but she never visits him. Eventually, their postcard exchange dries up and he realizes that it’s over.
Except that it’s not. Not quite.
‘Tatt av Kvinnen’ is such an absurd little movie, but the humour is rather subtle. One has to accept that our protagonist has a difficult time standing up for himself and little experience negotiating relationships. In fact, as proof, he gets most of his advice from a friend that he’s made at the local pool.
…which he visits frequently – if only to get some alone time.
For me, that was mildly frustrating because I’m very good at boundaries, whereas he couldn’t defend his. But, since this was a comedy, I understood that it was this inability of his that created the humour – that and Marianne’s ridiculously stalkerish personality (at least, at first, until she’d hooked him).
But the most frustrating thing for me was that, while in passing in Paris, after leaving Marianne behind, he meets the perfect woman for him: they not only had similar interests and attitudes, but she was divinely pretty, pristine. They got along famously, were great friends, and spent a lot of time together.
And then she even offered him to stay – but he felt tied to Marianne.
What a lost opportunity!
He and Marianne’s relationship was represented by a yellow dresser that she moved in one day. A huge, heavy, bright thing, she propped it up against his living room wall, even though it clashed with everything in his apartment. He asked her to paint it to match the place. She told him to repaint his place.
In any event this figurehead or surrogate clearly illustrated what was going on with him: when he got a little bit frustrated with Marianne, he decided to swash the dresser in various paints. And when he was completely done with their relationship, he decided to toss it out of his window. Totally fitting.
Because, he does, eventually, come to his senses and muster up enough inner strength and self-respect to defend his own interests. So, even though she had been a burden to him and had eventually disrespected him in many ways, Marianne wound up being the best that’s happened to him; he finally grew.
And that was satisfying to watch.
So, ultimately, although ‘Tatt av Kvinnen’ didn’t make me laugh quite as much as I would have liked it to, and it could have been quirkier, I thought that it was a perfectly-told story, with excellent comic performances. And it was entertaining enough that it flew by rather quickly and smoothly.
In fact, it’s a good enough motion picture that it was Norway’s submission to the 2008 Academy Awards.
I’m confident that I will watch it again someday.
Date of viewing: May 22, 2016