I Used to be Darker
I Used to be Darker is in Berlin cinemas on January 9.
When Northern Irish runaway Taryn (Campbell) checks in with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore to stave off the unpleasantness of compromised return, she finds the two musicians in the middle of an unpleasant breakup that no amount of decency and consideration for their college-aged daughter Abby can sweeten.
Bill (Oldham) has given up music to earn a decent and profitable crust. But music is both his and soon-to-be ex-wife Kim’s (Taylor) true passion, giving Porterfield the chance to make full use of diegetic music as an integral part of the family breakup. Scenes involving the playing of music are vital: to a narrative in which harmony has given way to discord and as a stand-in for the lifestyle versus music face-off – including the kind of choices that Taryn must also make. But the additional use of natural lighting and naturalist dialogue considerably stretches the authenticity envelope.
Watching reality unfold at this kind of pace gives the audience a lot of time to identify and appreciate stylistic choices but tighter editing and a less attenuated screenplay might also have created higher levels of engagement. On screen and off.
I Used to be Darker | Directed by Matt Porterfield (USA 2013) with Deragh Campbell, Hannah Gross, Ned Oldham, Kim Taylor. Starts January 9
Originally published in issue #123, January 2014.