Film Reviews

WANDER DARKLY: A Crushing Romantic Drama

In the aftermath of a car accident, a couple goes on a surreal journey through their relationship highs and lows. The disembodied experience giving them an opportunity to rediscover what they’ve let slip away. Starring Sienna Miller and Diego Luna, Wander Darkly is a romantic scrapbook, beautifully unveiled by its stars, hitting you with an emotional tidal wave in the end.

As new parents, Adrienne (Miller) and Matteo (Luna) are trying to make things work in their fractured partnership. There is tension as the two have drifted apart, seemingly wanting different things, and perhaps not matching each others expectations.

Overdue for a much needed night out, the two head to a friends party and though they’ve agreed to make the best of the evening, their troubles are unavoidable by nights end. While arguing in the car, they’re struck by an oncoming vehicle that will propel them both into a state of purgatory, clinging to life, and reliving the moments of their life together.

As they rediscover their greatest hits, conflicted by moments of weakness and imperfections, Adrienne and Matteo will come to terms with the path they’ve paved – and whether or not their love for one another still exists.

Wander Darkly is a patient film, revealing memories piece by piece throughout its 97-minute runtime. Truthfully, I wasn’t very into the first act. But as the story picks up, and we begin to learn more about Adrienne and Matteo, I felt the story began to find its steadiness. Its nonlinear storytelling unwraps everything in a way you’d not expect, and it’s in those memories where we really connect with the two.

It’s a story about how relationships are imperfect – how they take work, trust, and support for it to succeed. But it often takes a catalyst to reignite that desire, once it begins to die. What’s all the more crushing about it, is that we often realize that we’ve lost it when it’s too late; or feels as if it’s too late. The most impactful moments in the film, however, come within its final act; with Miller giving a crushing performance as reality sets in.

The film is a familiar premise, but it really begins to develop into something special, if not simply from Miller and Luna’s performances. It’s an unexpected lesson in grief and loss that director/writer Tara Miele captures perfectly.

Wander Darkly hits select theaters and on demand on December 11th

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