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Movie Review: ‘I Used To Be Darker’ Is Essentially About The Music


Who needs a complex story-line when you’ve got talented musicians to carry a film?

Matthew Porterfield’s official Sundance selection, I Used To Be Darker, is truly a beautiful and expressive piece of art starring and featuring music by singer-songwriter Kim Taylor.  The songs played throughout the film are not only for background, but also an extension of the dialogue.

When Taryn (Deragh Campbell), a Northern Irish runaway, finds herself in trouble in Ocean City, she decides to stay with her aunt (Kim Taylor) and uncle (Ned Oldham) in Baltimore hoping to escape her problems.  But little does she know her aunt and uncle are having problems of their own. Tayrn’s visit happens to be at a time when the two are trying deal with the end of their marriage.  The couple and their daughter, Abby (Hannah Gross), are having an even harder time than they expected.  Abby can’t even look at her mother.  Her father is heart broken and trying to maintain a positive demeanor.  All the while, Taryn does everything she can to avoid telling her own parents where she is.

The premise itself is intriguing, and I believe Porterfield accomplished the goal he was trying to achieve in the film.  Everyone is trying to avoid dealing with their issues or talking about their problems.   Some of the characters express their feelings through song, while others bottle up their emotions until finally unleashing it during a random outburst.

The most enjoyable scenes were when the characters finally expressed their frustration verbally.  More specifically, one of the best scenes is performed by the exceptional Hannah Gross, when she randomly barges into Taryn’s room shouting at her to call her parents.  In that moment, you are able to connect with Abby and the pain she is going through.

Articulated through song and music, I Used To Be Darker tells a heart-breaking story of family tribulations, people finding each other and letting each other go, and how to hopefully find love again. Though I can’t say this film will appeal to all audiences, music and indie film lovers should find it deep and touching.

I Used To Be Darker is  out on DVD January 28th.

I Used To Be Darker Trailer HD

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