Movie Review: Wander Darkly
by Julie Perez
How would you cope with life-altering trauma?
When Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) suffer a tragic accident, it results in them reliving their relationship, in order to get past it. Written and Directed by Tara Miele, Wander Darkly serves as a study of the brain and as a study of how hard it works to protect us from the tragedies of life. If ever you needed a reminder of lucky we are to exist, then use this film as that. Tara Miele did a beautiful job with the screenplay; within the first fifteen minutes, you feel Adrienne and Matteo’s characters rooted in the history of their relationship.
The passionate and complicated journey that this film takes you through is only amplified by the talent on screen. Diego Luna as Matteo is pure perfection and gives a passionate performance as Matteo. Matteo is a complicated man and he has plenty of imperfections to make him look like the bad guy and yet, you will find yourself rooting for him over and over again. One thing that this film gets absolutely right is that it refuses to shy away from Matteo’s ethnicity. By having Matteo be bilingual and attend a Dia de los Muertos celebration, they allow his culture to be part of the story without forcing it to be part of the narrative. This film is a perfect example of what we mean when we ask for better representation.
Give Sienna Miller the world.
Fine, I’ll settle for an Oscar. Sienna makes a marionette out of your heart and spends the entire film pulling the strings in a way that will force a visceral reaction out of you. Sienna threads the intricacies of her character with such delicacy that your heart will be aching for her the entire time. It’s the kind of performance that will stick with you, you will think you have forgotten it and then on a random night you’ll find yourself aching for Adrienne. This story requires you to become invested and because of Sienna Miller and Diego Luna’s performances, you are absolutely willing to do so.
Wander Darkly is about choosing to live, it’s about it being okay to not be okay, it’s about the beauty and tragedy that comes from living but it’s especially about how all of that can coexist in a complicated reality. Ultimately though, this film is about a mother who’s love for her child is so massive that she chooses to live even when it feels impossible. The last thirty minutes will have you on the edge of your seat (and if you’re like me, sobbing uncontrollably) and though the end of the road is gut-wrenching, the journey is still completely worth it. Then again, as the poster says, “some stories end with a beginning”.
Wander Darkly will be released in select theaters and on demand December 11, 2020.