Taryn, a Northern Irish runaway, spends her summer at Ocean City, Maryland, working on the boardwalk. When she finds herself in trouble, she contacts her aunt and uncle who live in Baltimore, asking if she can stay with them for a bit. Unbeknownst to Taryn, Kim and Bill have problems of their own, as they attempt to handle an impending divorce gracefully for the sake of their daughter, Abby. Matthew Porterfield's I Used to Be Darker is the type of film that would be criticized by unobservant viewers as a film in which "nothing happens". I Used to be Darker doesn't cater to the audience at all, never concerning itself with the baggage of backstory but rather with creating living, breathing characters that tell the viewer all they need to know about the past and present. It's all in the small subtle moments with I Used To Be Darker, a film about the complex family dynamics and how change can disrupt the balance. Matthew Porterfield's simplistic yet lyrical style is prevalent, making sure every character in this story is well-defined, with genuine feelings and emotions. The audience understands the place where all these characters are coming from, each having their own weaknesses and strengths. The most prevalent example of this centers around Abby, as she lashes out at Taryn one night for no apparent reason. Porterfield's subtle narrative style doesn't define why this happens but it's clear that Abby is taking her frustration over her parent's failed marriage out on Taryn. Abby is frustrated that Taryn takes what she has for granted, a complete family unit. All the characters in Porterfield's I Used To Be Darker are looking, yearning for something and for me, this is a film about the fragility and strength of the family unit, capturing how while it can temporarily be damaged, the bond of family eventually heals through renewal.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.