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film review

I USED TO BE DARKER (2013)

I Used to Be Darker, whose title comes from an album by Bill Callahan, has an overall feeling of a melancholy musical composition – of a hard-luck ballad sung in a hushed but strong voice. Pregnant Irish runaway Taryn (Deragh Campbell) decamps to Maryland to stay with her rock-singer aunt and uncle (Ned Oldham and Kim Taylor), only to discover that their marriage has fallen apart, and that her cousin Abby (Hannah Gross) is less than delighted to see her. Matthew Porterfield's film doesn't offer much in the way of plot, but the ways the characters bounce off one another in small spaces are precisely observed, and the actors have a lot of soul; when Oldham and Taylor's characters sing songs, they seem to come straight from the heart.

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