“Entanglement,” starring Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley, Joshy) and Jess Weixler (The Good Housewife, Teeth), premiering at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is a dark rom-com that never misses a beat as it explores heartbreak, our psyches, and emotional healing. We meet Ben (Middleditch) who is depressed and attempts to commit suicide several times, but always fails due to one little forgotten detail. His life is a mess ever since his wife left him, but then he meets Hannah, his almost-sister, and his life takes a turn and leads him down an unexpected path in life. “Entanglement” always remembers that it’s a comedy while it successfully integrates deep emotional concepts and even a bit of science to keep us thinking and entertained.
Typically, there’s nothing funny about suicide, but Ben’s failed attempts most certainly elicit laugh out loud moments. This sets the mood for the rest of the film as we get to know this troubled and depressed young man. After answering the door during one of his attempts, (he just couldn’t resist the call of the doorbell after slitting his wrists) he is rushed to the hospital to be saved. Fast forward to a few months later—he’s in therapy (a friend who is a child psychologist), and finds out that his parents almost adopted a baby girl. Looking for answers to his so-called life, Ben goes on a quest to find her with the help of his best friend and neighbor, Tabby (Diana Bang). He not only finds his almost-sister Hannah (Weixler), but he falls in love with her. With her, he explores what life means, how to live again, and how we are all connected.
Initially, even with the topic of depression and suicide, “Entanglement” feels light and funny—and it is. The delicate balance and careful understanding of the fragility of life is beautifully depicted while keeping the underlying current of humor. It’s reminiscent of Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader’s indie comedy “The Skeleton Twins,” but remains more upbeat throughout the film. And the entire premise of the film is based upon the Entanglement Theory. Simply put, everyone and everything is connected, always affecting one another. Together, Ben and Hannah, express this theory with a light-hearted comedic touch. The characters are all uniquely interesting albeit a bit over the top, but this adds to the humor as it never takes itself too seriously. As we meet the others in Ben’s life, we begin to understand him better. He lacks confidence and based on his interactions with his parents, we can see why. His juvenile interactions with his therapist’s patient (Jena Skodje) indicate that he hasn’t quite matured yet, and Tabby is that misunderstood girl next door character he’s overlooking.
Middleditch and Weixler create an unusual yet perfect pair in this film. Middleditch has a unique skill in portraying a lovable loser contrasted by Weixler’s confident and rebellious “Hannah.” Middleditch’s mannerisms and timing demonstrates that he’s a talented comedic actor. It’s a strong ensemble cast, but Skodje stands out as the back-talking, insolent adolescent ready to set Middleditch’s “Ben” straight. The astute and insightful writing, clear direction, and talented cast give us a wonderfully entertaining dark comedy with heart.
“Entanglement” will screen on May 24th at the SIFF and will also be a part of the Brooklyn Film Festival. For tickets to see it at SIFF, go to SIFF TICKETS
s—a tangled mess that has a few kinks along the way, but we’re always trying to unravel the meaning of it all.