Wander Darkly

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Wander Darkly Movie Poster Image
Mature metaphysical relationship drama has sex, language.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie is more about personal struggle and less about life lessons, but there are examples of characters helping each other through crises and fighting to overcome difficult circumstances.

Positive Role Models

Movie is about ordinary people with flaws who try hard but fail just as much as they succeed. They do help each other through crises.

Violence

Brutal car crash. Bloody wounds, with faces covered in blood. Death. A character steps into traffic and is hit by a car. Nightmarish sequences; ghostly, deathlike figures; scratches on character's stomach. Character considers suicide, climbs up on high ledge. Moments of panic. Arguing.

Sex

Fairly graphic sex scene shows a man performing oral sex on a woman, searching for condom, beginning sexual intercourse (which is interrupted). Bare breasts. Kissing. Mention of "blow job." Woman wearing bra. One character cheats on his partner by kissing someone else. Discussions about infidelity/cheating.

Language

Sporadic uses of "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," and "blow job," plus "God forbid" and "thank God."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinks at party. Characters take prescription pills.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wander Darkly is a sort of metaphysical romantic drama. After a car crash, a woman (Sienna Miller) believes that she may be dead, but she and her partner (Diego Luna) are able to revisit key moments of their life together. It's a bit gimmicky, but it's also emotionally powerful. The car crash is terrible, with bloody wounds. Death is discussed, and there are nightmarish sequences with scary, deathlike figures, as well as arguments, panic, attempted suicide, and more. A graphic sex scene shows a man performing oral sex on a woman; they search for a condom and start to have sex but are interrupted. Her bare breasts are shown. Characters kiss, and there's some sex talk and discussion of infidelity. Language includes sporadic uses of "f--k," "s--t," etc. Adult characters drink alcohol at a party and take prescription pills.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byClorox bleach April 17, 2021

Wander darkly

I thought this was a good movie. It had a feeling of a Terrence malick movie. There were cool transitions and the way the camera is used is very intriguing. I d... Continue reading

What's the story?

In WANDER DARKLY, partners Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) have a new house and a newborn baby girl but aren't yet married. They argue about their relationship on the way to a party. Coming home, they're hit by a car. In the hospital, Adrienne sees herself die and starts experiencing a series of time shifts, even visiting a future in which Matteo has abandoned their daughter. But Matteo finds her and begins telling her their story, revisiting all of the crucial points in their life together, with each coming to understand the other's point of view. It works, and Adrienne starts feeling more like herself. But life has still more twists in store for her.

Is it any good?

This metaphysical exploration of a complex relationship may feel a little gimmicky, but the intense, intimate exploration of moments in a couple's life emerges as totally genuine. Much more graceful than an experimental attempt like The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Wander Darkly seems to understand the inner workings of both characters at the same time. Yet, as written and directed by Tara Miele, it has a distinctly female point of view. As the scenes magically, crazily transition from one impossible location to another, from one time period to another, Adrienne responds in an emotionally logical manner, focusing on what's important, rather than trying to solve the mystery.

The couple's second chances are truly eye-opening; they relive the same moments and get a chance to compare notes and tell each other what they were really thinking. Or perhaps certain moment were misremembered: When a candle led to a fire in her room, Adrienne only remembered Matteo running away. But in his story, he returned with a fire extinguisher. Perhaps too much emphasis is put on marriage as a solution to everything, but, even so -- and even with its wallop of an ending -- Wander Darkly has enough fluid communication between its two central characters to make it something special.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Wander Darkly depicts sex. How do the characters relate to each other? Is there respect? Trust? What values are imparted?

  • How is violence used in a story that discusses death?

  • How do you think the concept of "telling someone their story" would work?

  • How diverse is the movie? Do characters offer positive representations, or stereotypes?

Movie details

  • In theaters: December 11, 2020
  • On DVD or streaming: February 9, 2021
  • Cast: Sienna Miller, Diego Luna, Beth Grant
  • Director: Tara Miele
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 97 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language and some sexual content/nudity
  • Last updated: February 9, 2021

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