Wander Darkly review – touching and meaningful

December 23, 2020
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews
4

Summary

Wander Darkly is a touching and meaningful reminiscence and beautiful visual depiction of the filmmaker’s intended journey.

4

Summary

Wander Darkly is a touching and meaningful reminiscence and beautiful visual depiction of the filmmaker’s intended journey.

Sienna Miller continues to churn out one great performance after another the past few years. She always brings something interesting to a role. In last year’s American Woman she was strong, magnetic, but also deeply moving. Her streak continues with Wander Darkly. She is great here in a role that has her spiraling down headfirst into a rabbit hole of manic, reflective paranoia.

Miller stars as Adrianne, a new mother experiencing postpartum depression and in a long-term, committed relationship that isn’t working for her anymore. She has a brand new daughter with Matteo (Diego Luna). They remain unmarried and have bought a home.

Diego didn’t want the house. He resents being in escrow and feels a home, steady job, and family ties them down from experiencing life. After another fight on this issue, they are involved in a traumatic car accident. The incident leaves both of them caught between reality and a world where they can look back at their lives and contemplate their best and worst moments together

Director Tara Miele’s script in Wander Darkly is an intricate puzzle that’s like a high wire act. At certain points, you think the story is going to come crashing down from falling into a plot hole, but she doesn’t let it get there. It’s a complex story of trauma, melancholy, and moving moments that fit harmoniously.

We touched on Miller’s performance and it deserved to be said again. She is great in Wander Darkly. Her “straight man” Luna is in a tricky role that needs to be grounded enough to be effective and interesting enough without giving away the film’s surprises. As Adrianne questions what is real and what isn’t, it’s Matteo’s role to convince her otherwise without tipping the hand to the audience. He is an empathic sounding board, but an effective one at that.

Anyone experienced with how mental health professionals deal with trauma (and watching countless films) may find Wander Darkly‘s plot rather obvious. Those who aren’t may call the film “gimmicky” or even label it as science fiction drama, but they would be wrong. There is a moment in the film in which it tips its hand and is a beautiful visual depiction of the filmmaker’s intended journey.

The result is a touching and meaningful reminiscence on how to get to that light at the end of the tunnel.


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