Surviving a car accident, even a minor one, is a unique experience. In “Wander Darkly”, a film by Tara Miele, Adrienne (Sienna Miller) has an extraordinary experience – she dies in a car accident, but lives on.
At the time of the crash, she and her partner Matteo (Diego Luna) are at a dead end. Unmarried, with a child who they thought would focus their relationship, they are angry at each other: Adrienne about Matteo’s inattentiveness, Matteo about Adrienne’s flirting at a party. After the collision, Adrienne, who thinks she is a ghost, leaves a hospital and goes to her own funeral. The experience is more “Carnival of Souls” than “Tom Sawyer,” and that’s encouraging.
Then Matteo shows up. For reasons that have never been thoroughly rationalized or explained, he can see them while others cannot. He becomes her lecturer in scenes from their common past and possible future. They can talk privately and experience different scenarios, just like Marley and Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”.
But instead of exposing past sins, we go through the troubles of yet another generational Los Angeles bourgeois bohemian who grapples with the question, “What’s the point of us?”
Miele presents some interesting, imputed images – a sidewalk that turns into a wave-shaped beach, a day of the dance of the dead that appears in the midst of an idyllic Saturday in the park scene.
But Adrienne and Matteo, even if they are island-indie couples, are poorly developed. “You are my calm and my truth,” Adrienne says to Matteo in one scene. Only it doesn’t seem to be anything like that. Rather, both characters are attractive, socially presentable people who are normally, aimlessly and stubbornly lost in themselves. Car accident or baby or not, their alliance never seems worthy of sustaining.
Rated R for intensive content and language. Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes. To rent or buy in cinemas and on Amazon, Apple TV and other streaming platforms as well as from pay TV operators. Please read the Policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching films in theaters.