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Review: Matt Porterfield’s Empathetic, Observational ‘I Used To Be Darker’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • October 2, 2013 7:01 PM
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In between the big events that mark our lives—the births, the deaths, the falling-in-loves, the breaking-ups, the runnings-away, the reconciliations—there often exists a kind of pause moment. And it’s one such moment that Matt Porterfield’s Sundance-approved third feature, “I Used to be Darker,” deals with; a caesura that punctuates the Big Life Business that is going on in the disparate lives of one fragmented family. This a film that largely takes place either before or after the real dramas, so Porterfield sets himself a difficult task from the outset: how to dramatize that which is determinedly anti-dramatic? It’s an issue that the film, for all its small, well-observed pleasures, never really overcomes. It’s not helped by Porterfield taking his time with his largely non-professional or first-timer cast either; the film’s considered pacing takes a little getting used to. But by its end, the film had worked its way under our skin deeper than we expected, and through skilfully unobtrusive editing and camerawork, we felt we had a clear, honest picture of these lives. It is essentially an exercise in mining a very specific, particular situation for tiny but universal truths, and if you have the patience, the insights are there.

Watch: Trailer For 'Putty Hill' Director Matt Porterfield's Sundance Entry 'I Used To Be Darker'

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • January 10, 2013 12:18 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Sprung from a five-page treatment and fashioned into a striking blend of drama and documentary, writer/director Matt Porterfield's “Putty Hill” took a community's reaction to a young death and explored it from a number of different angles. Now, with that film leading into a successful Kickstarter campaign for his third feature, “I Used to Be Darker,” a trailer for the Sundance-bound result has finally hit the web.

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