I Used to Be Darker
- English spoken
In the dreamy, realistic drama I Used To be Darker, young Irish Taryn visits her aunt’s family in Baltimore. She ran away from home, but it turns out her relatives are all struggling with their own problems.
When Taryn arrives in Baltimore unexpectedly, her aunt’s husband takes her to a fancy restaurant and promptly informs her that he and her aunt are getting a divorce – she is packing her bags at that very moment. Their daughter, home for the first time since leaving for college, has become estranged from her parents. No wonder: they’re on very bad terms with each other and don’t leave out any opportunity to demonstrate it. While her aunt has moved in with her much younger boyfriend and her husband smashes his guitars, Taryn and her niece are left to their own devices. They try to make the best of the summer by going to parties and hanging out at the pool. But they can’t escape the transitional phase that has a hold on everyone in this film either: they don’t seem to fit in anywhere and remain floating on the surface.
Director Matthew Porterfield made the movie on a micro budget. He tried to avoid dialogue as much as possible and let the images and music do the talking; and he succeeded. The biggest strength of I Used To Be Darker is its dreamy, melancholy atmosphere. The soundtrack, largely performed by Taryn’s aunt and her band, fits perfectly. Taryn’s aunt and uncle are played by musicians Kim Taylor and Ned Oldham, who also supply most of the drama.
All the characters in I Used To Be Darker are searching, trying to struggle through their own problems while at times taking it out on their relatives. Jeremy Saulnier’s observing cinematography, in which characters are often filmed from behind, makes the viewer feel part of what happens to Taryn and her family. Saulnier’s camerawork provides the kind of intimacy in which we can almost touch the characters, and at times the film feels like a documentary. Much is left unsaid, but that’s okay. That we never really get to know the background of any of the characters, ensures that each of us will be able to identify with at least one of them.
Marloes den Hoed