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Review: Entanglement

February 9, 2018

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Ben Layton (Thomas Middleditch) is in the throes of depression, finding himself unable to cope after his wife left him for another man.  But he finds a new purpose in life when he finds out that his parents nearly adopted a baby girl, who they had to give up after realizing they were pregnant with him, leaving the possibility open that he has a sibling of sorts out in the world.

Operating under the belief that a sister might be able to help him figure himself out, this leads him to meet Hanna (Jess Weixler), a quirky young woman who rejuvenates his life.  Ben falls in love with her, a relationship that is not only complicated by the fact that she very nearly ended up being his adopted sister, but also because he might not be as mentally stable as he believes.

At the same time, Ben starts to realize that his neighbour Tabby (Diana Bang), who is always looking out for him and sneaks in to clean his apartment, also has feelings for him.  This description probably makes the Vancouver-shot Entanglement sound like your typical indie rom-com about an emotionally despondent man being saved by one spirited young woman, while another one pines after him.  But the film also has deeper ambitions than that.  It plays with stylistic touches that feel inspired by Michel Gondry, features talk of quantum entanglement, and builds towards a final twist that radically changes our interpretation of the story.

The problem is that the film ends up biting off more than it can chew, and the twist somewhat undercuts our investment in everything that happened before it.  There are still things to like about Entanglement, including a fine performance from Thomas Middleditch, who does a good job of portraying a man in the midst of a mental breakdown.  The film starts off on a pretty promising note, with an opening sequence showing Ben’s botched attempts at committing suicide, which somehow finds the right balance between drama and pitch black comedy.

There is also a sequence partway through that shows all of the serendipitous little moments that stopped his suicide attempt from being successful that I thought was nicely done.  But the film as a whole just doesn’t quite work in the end.  This is ultimately a clichéd and somewhat overly ambitious indie dramedy that relies a little too much on quirky elements to tell its story, and it offers two manic pixie dream girls for the price of one, which feels like a few too many.

Entanglement is now playing in limited release at Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas in Toronto.

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