HIFF 2020: Wander Darkly Review

HIFF 2020: Wander Darkly Review

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

Wander Darkly is a narrative maze. It follows Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) as they deal with their failing relationship and young daughter. When a trauma hits the couple, it brings up a series of memories and events that alters everything. This is the type of film that is hard to talk about with any great detail because doing so would require major spoilers. Suffice it to say, the narrative structure of the film becomes a tad off kilter by playing with reality and a possibly unreliable narrator of sorts.

Instead of getting deep into plot, let’s change gears and say that Luna and especially Miller are really good here. She has to play so many aspects of her character because of how she responds to the trauma. Beth Grant as Miller’s mom also has a small role, but an important one that she handles well. While the script from writer and director Tara Miele does have some trite moments of cliché relationship melodrama, the overall passion and emotion of the couple’s issues feels genuine. Even though there’s some surreal stuff going on, the challenges and struggles they face don’t feel forced.

Ultimately, Wander Darkly succeeds because of that passion and emotion. The story’s twists are complemented by it. The actors’ performances enable it. Miele’s writing and direction uplift it. It’s not the most original of ideas (two or three films that could be mashed up into it immediately come to mind). But, in the end, it’s a pretty good meditation on relationship turmoil and tragedy that’s worth checking out.

still courtesy of Sundance

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