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Film Review: “Wander Darkly” (2020)


Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are always moments in our life when we try to play out scenarios in our head that never happen; an imaginary dialogue with a predictable ending where we have the last word. A moment when each word said and every move made is right. However, in real life, it does not happen that way. Nothing comes easy, things cannot be undone and when the moment is gone, what are we left with?

As new parents, Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) move into a new home in the hope to grow a bigger family than they have. However, all those dreams disappear when a car accident takes away their solemn existence and puts them into a time limbo. The two must revisit their past, present and their altered future to understand, after that fateful event, where life is about to take them.

When the film opens, we find Adrienne changing her dress as she asks her baby for advice. Matteo is outside, working. As the evening sets in, the two go out. Seven minutes in, Matteo and Adrienne are passionately discussing their life as he drives the car. “We just need to pass through one year,” says Matteo, in his plea. “It’s not this year I want to pass through,”, replies Adriene, “I just wanna enjoy it.” As they continue arguing on the road, the question Matteo asks does not find a chance to get its answer, “What should we do now? Split up?”, he asks, as the only response he gets instead is the front-impact car accident that will have its final saying.

Written and directed by Tara Miele, the film questions the moments of tragedies that occur in our life. How do we react to it? Adrienne suffers severe trauma, and she believes she is either dead or about to die. Matteo does his best to ensure she doesn’t lose it, so he begins telling her his story. The story is not the one we see between the two right before the accident. When Matteo reminds Adrienne about their life together, for almost like forever, the woman still does not understand where she is, as she believes they are both either dead or she’s stuck somewhere in the afterlife, unable to find a way out of it.

“Wander Darkly” is an “Inception” type of film that looks more like a dream for Adrienne and Matteo. Writer/director does not try to paint a love affair of the century nor tell the story of the most ideal couple. Because they are not. However, it shows the potential of what could have been and the moment that all is lost. The ending of it will want you to rewatch the beginning of the film to see if there was anything you missed in terms of character development – who they were before the accident and who they become later.

In any event, the film does not fail to paint the deep feeling of grief, immense pain, and what happens when we begin to judge instead of cherishing; when we demand for things that were already there, asking questions whose answers should have been known ahead of time. There is a lesson to be learned from “Wander Darkly” and that is – don’t go far to look for happiness. Because the path you may take can lead you towards loneliness as what has been left behind is no longer within reach.

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