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directed by Matt Porterfield
USA 2012


When nineteen-year-old Irish runaway Taryn (Deragh Campbell) turns up on the doorstep of her American relatives Bill (Ned Oldham) and his singer wife Kim (Kim Taylor), they welcome her presence even as they are dissolving their marriage. Also just back from the Hamptons is their daughter Abby (Hannah Gross), an aspiring actress resentful of her mother's new relationship with a younger bandmate as well as Taryn's seeming willingness to take her place as a more agreeable daughter substitute. When they discover that Taryn has been in the country for the last year without her parents' knowledge and is pregnant, her American relatives prod Taryn to mend her fractured relationship with her mother even as they grow more distant from one another.

If you don't count director Matt Porterfield's long short HAMILTON, I USED TO BE DARKER is Porterfield's sophomore effort after the well-received experimental feature PUTTY HILL. It's more slickly and confidently made, with more professional if unknown actors, but this somewhat shapeless family drama feels incredibly generic even if it doesn't resolve itself in the style of other films where an outsider changes the lives of a troubled household (one could easily imagine this film cast with Hollywood regulars seeking critical validation). The musical performances here seem more self-important than in PUTTY HILL, and the script seems reluctant to actually guide its performers towards anything concrete. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see the direction Porterfield takes with his next film.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 25 December 2013 (France)

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DVD Review: Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Strand Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:28:48

2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Strand Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.28:1

Edition Details:
• Deleted Scenes (with 'Play All' option):
• - 'Ocean City Prologue' (16:9; 8:15)
• - 'Copycat Fire Escape' (16:9; 1:51)
• - 'The Snowball' (16:9; 1:14)
• - 'Bill & Jack's Full Basement Jam' (16:9; 6:26)
• Music Videos:
• - Kim Taylor (16:9; 4:27)
• - The Anomoanon (16:9; 4:47)
• Interview with director Matt Porterfield (16:9; 17:18)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:28)
• Strand Releasing Trailers for 'The Future', 'Post Tenebras Lux', 'Zaytoun', and 'Stranger by the
• Lake'

DVD Release Date: January 28th, 2014

Chapters 8



Strand's dual-layer DVD features an attractive high-bitrate encoding of this slick Arri Alexa-lensed film. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is heavier on atmosphere than directional effects. The disc also features optional English SDH subtitles for the dialogue, song lyrics, and sound effects. Extras include a handful of deleted scenes, including a lengthier prologue which makes some points clearer about the main character (but they are ultimately unnecessary), an additional dialogue scene with Taryn and Abby on a fire escape, a bit featuring Abby on the way to New York, and an extended version of Bill's basement jam. Interesting scenes, but not particularly important. Director Matt Porterfield appears in an interview for the Melbourne Film Festival where he discusses the politics of regional filmmaking. Trailers for the film and other Strand titles current and upcoming Strand releases round out the extras.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Region 1 - NTSC


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