Wander Darkly, written and directed by Tara Miele, is a surreal journey through trauma, grief, and loss following a traffic accident. From an ordinary beginning we’re plunged into an extraordinary after death experience. It’s available on Hulu.
Wander Darkly stars Sienna Miller as Adrienne and Diego Luna as Matteo. They have a new baby and a new mortgage. On a date night, they have a jealous argument on their way home. They are hit head on by oncoming traffic.
From that point on, we are not sure what’s real in the story.
Adrienne wakes up in the hospital and watches herself dying. She chases the gurney with her body on it to the morgue. She moves from memory to memory through impossible shifts in time and place. She sees visions of the Grim Reaper coming for her and says zombies are her people now.
Matteo finds Adrienne trying to jump into traffic from a bridge over I-10. He tells her she is alive. To convince her she is alive, Matteo tells her the story of their relationship.
But it’s Adrienne’s story, too. As they circle and recircle their relationship and their past, they argue and negotiate their story as they relive it. Sometimes Adrienne jumps ahead by years, seeing the future of their daughter Ellie at different ages.
Even though Adrienne’s parents are there helping with Ellie, even though Matteo is there telling her she’s alive, she is stuck in a lonely place. She spends her time in bed or on the couch. She doesn’t interact with Ellie or her parents. She’s in a kind of limbo she can’t escape.
When the turn comes that takes us into the third act of Wander Darkly, it’s easy to look back and remember the clues. At the time, they weren’t so obvious. Working from trauma into a functioning grasp of reality is difficult and takes time.
Sienna Miller and Diego Luna were both outstanding in this. They had excellent chemistry whether they were falling in love, falling out of love, or trying to remember love.
The way the story was written and constructed worked well and had a unique feel. Great editing made sense of the jumbled memories. The story was written after director Tara Miele survived an auto accident with her husband. She turned life into art.
Here’s the trailer.
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