TARA MIELE “WANDER DARKLY” A JOURNEY OF LOVING THROUGH DEATH
In Select Theatres and On Demand December 11, 2020
Reviewed by Ingrid Jordan: Writer/director Tara Miele gives an intriguing perspective on loss, love, and life. Wander Darkly has elements of Ghost, Sixth Sense, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and offers added layers of its own character. The film opens with Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) handling the issues of everyday life. With a new baby, and careers to keep the home going all the normal things that can potentially have a strain on most relationships. We get a sense of them going through the routine of mundane life. On the ride back home after a much-needed date night, tensions flare, accusations made and we wonder why this couple has stayed together. When Adrienne tells Mateo that he never wanted to have a child one can tell this may be the breaking point. Taking his eyes off the road for a few seconds to respond to Adrienne they collide head-on with another vehicle.
From there Wander Darkly will take you down the rabbit hole. We see Adrienne covered in blood looking down at her body in the hospital. With pure horror and confusion etched across her face, she watches as the staff tries to revive her but to no avail. As the monitor flatlines and the gurney is wheeled off Adrienne literally runs after her body. And just as quickly the scene shows her watching the orderly shut into the storage vault.
Like a sliding door, the scene moves to a disoriented and confused Adrienne wandering around the hospital seeing her parents’ hug watch each other in mourning. Then immediately wandering the street to familiar places and realizing no one sees her. Just when she is unable to process any more of the horror Mateo shows up in her alternate reality telling her she is okay. She is angry, confused, and upset wanting to know why he left her. Mateo assures her everything will be alright and he will help her remember everything about their relationship.
And once again we are shifted onto another reality as Mateo recreates the story of their life together. As we experience his version Adrienne gets to create hers as well. Each rediscovering how they met and fell in love and the disappointments along the way. Mateo’s jealousy at a dinner party held by Adrienne’s boss and, Mateo’s possible infidelity which Adrienne suspected all laid bare for them to examine.
And this the beauty of a story that delves into our perception of self and others. It’s an ethereal blend of reality and mysticism a stepping ladder to uncover the truth. The truth of their love, of their happiness. Wander Darkly is a dialogue-driven script full of questions and some never answered but always searching. It begs us to wonder if you knew exactly when you would die how much would you be willing to change. What would you do for love and better still? What would you sacrifice? And in an otherworldly way death can sometimes heal and make us whole.
Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) do a fantastic job in their roles making us want what they want. Making each look and every word count. There are surprises in Wander Darkly that I hope the viewer will enjoy and though tragic will find the beauty of love and the endurance of the human spirit.
Written & Directed by | Tara Miele
Starring | Sienna Miller and Diego Luna
Produced by | Lynette Howell Taylor, Samantha Housman, Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson
Runtime | 97 minutes
Rating | R for Language and Some Sexual Content/Nudity
Distribution | Lionsgate Films