Baltimore independent Matthew Porterfield specializes in low-key, observational dramas that favor character over action; modest in both the positive and negative senses of the word, they conjure up an agreeable intimacy with their little cameo portraits but seldom linger in the memory as anything more than a mood. After visiting the wrong side of the tracks with his second feature, Putty Hill (2010), Porterfield returns to the more middle-class surroundings of his debut, Hamilton (2006), for this tale of a pregnant Irish teenager (Deragh Campbell) who runs away from home and lands in the Baltimore ‘burbs with her American aunt (Kim Taylor) and the aunt’s husband (Ned Oldham). The couple, both musicians, are in the midst of a bitter breakup, and Porterfield frequently trains the camera on one or the other as each performs his melancholy tunes; this stops the narrative dead in its tracks, though the film moves so slowly in the first place that you probably won’t notice.
I Used to Be Darker
1 hour 30 min • 2013