I Used to Be Darker

Watch I Used to Be Darker

  • NR
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 5.7  (1,027)
  • 69

"I Used to Be Darker," a 2013 indie drama directed by Matthew Porterfield, is a poignant exploration of fractured family relationships and the struggle to find oneself amidst personal turmoil. The film follows the journey of Taryn (Deragh Campbell), a teenage runaway from Ireland, who seeks refuge with her aunt and uncle in Maryland after her mother's separation. Upon arriving, Taryn discovers that her aunt Kim (Kim Taylor) and uncle Bill (Ned Oldham) are on the verge of a divorce and that her rebellious younger cousin Abby (Hannah Gross) is struggling to cope with her parents' separation.

As the family navigates their conflicts and attempts to maintain their composure, Taryn begins to find solace in their collective pain. "I Used to Be Darker" is a slow-burning drama that slowly unravels the layers of its central characters and their complex emotional states. Through Taryn's eyes, the audience is given a reserved, yet deeply felt glimpse into the challenges, heartbreaks, and occasional moments of beauty that arise from familial relationships.

One of the central themes of the film is the role of music in the characters' lives. Kim is a musician who spends most of her time on gigs and recordings, while Bill and Abby's love for music is a shared bond that they cling to amidst their emotional struggles. The film uses music to underscore the emotional beats of the story, with raw performances by Taylor and Oldham adding another layer of authenticity and sincerity to the film's muted and introspective atmosphere.

The camera work in "I Used to Be Darker" is unhurried and thoughtful, capturing the quiet desperation of its characters with a sense of empathy and compassion. The editing style is equally understated, allowing the story to unfold in a measured and organic way. The absence of melodramatic narrative beats or flashy visual tricks makes the film's emotionality and character development feel all the more genuine and earned.

One of the standout performances in the film comes from Campbell, who imbues Taryn with a raw, unbridled energy that contrasts beautifully against the more restrained performances of Taylor and Oldham. Her portrayal of a teenager adrift and alone in the world is both heartbreaking and cathartic, and her journey to find her place in the world is the film's central narrative thread. Gross is also excellent as Abby, bringing a sense of vulnerability and emotional instability that makes her character's journey feel visceral and impactful.

"I Used to Be Darker" may not be a film for everyone, as its meditative pace and observational storytelling may leave some viewers feeling restless or unengaged. However, for those who appreciate contemplative cinema that digs deep into the human experience, this film is a must-watch. Its subtle, yet emotionally resonant performances, understated visual and editing style, and touching exploration of the complexities of familial relationships make it a memorable and powerful piece of independent filmmaking.

Overall, "I Used to Be Darker" is a finely-crafted character study that showcases the depth and complexity of the human heart. Through its raw performances, meditative pacing, and masterful direction, the film delivers a story that is more about emotional nuance than narrative arcs, and it does so with sincerity, empathy, and grace.

I Used to Be Darker is a 2013 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.7 and a MetaScore of 69.

I Used to Be Darker
Where to Watch I Used to Be Darker
I Used to Be Darker is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download, buy and rent on demand at Vudu, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent I Used to Be Darker for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (1,027)
  • Metascore