During a particularly rough flu season, my temperature was well over 100 degrees with chills and I was convinced that all I needed to do was get some rest. Upon closing my eyes, my consciousness slipped into a realm where vividly stood my Grandparents dressed in the outfits I last saw them in shortly before they passed away. My Grandfather stood silent in his brown suit with yellow shirt and matching brown hat. My Grandmother extended her hand requesting that I follow them, while assuring me everything would be just fine. As I grabbed her hand in mine and began to walk, she came to a screeching halt and told me to stay. As I gasped to catch my breath, what felt like a hand on my back and shoved me upright. Did I have a really elaborate dream, was it real or did I die for a moment. I’ll never really know the answer to that, but when I screened Wander Darkly, memories of that moment coursed through my veins like an IV tube of cold water.
Written and directed by Tara Miele, and starring Sienna Miller, Diego Luna, Beth Grant, Aimee Carrero, Tory Kittles and Vanessa Bayer this Lionsgate title is loosely based on the life-threatening accident Tara and her husband experienced. What would you do if you could relive and retrace your life steps leading up that very moment? What would you change? How would you navigate life afterwards should you happen to survive? What would you do if you survived, but you partner did not.?
Miele addresses some hard hitting life issues and cinematically executes them with stylized beauty while infusing the Latin culture Dias de la Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration giving this film a graceful, etherial layer not seen with other films in the genre like Sixth Sense, Heaven Can Wait and Ghost (mostly seen through a male gaze). Seen mostly through the eyes of Adrienne, we get to go on this rollercoaster ride with her through the afterlife with every scenario you could possibly imagine and never being tipped off about what the final outcome turns out to be. Wander Darkly is riveting due to the intricate writing of Tara Miele coupled with amazing performances of a perfect cast.
Sienna Miller and Diego Luna have undeniable chemistry that makes this film work in a million different ways. Miller’s performance exudes a broadened range of woman struggling with not only her own mortality, but the mortality of a clearly trouble relationship. Wander Darkly is such an intensely complicated, layered story, yet one that resonates and permeates your soul and consciousness well after the credit have rolled. Release plans are set for December 11, 2020 and well worth the watch!