Entanglement tackles a lot in its lean runtime of 85 minutes. Mental health, family, love, the innate desire to feel like you belong are among the deep themes explored in this film effectively.
After failed marriage is followed by a failed suicided attempt, Ben (Silicon Valley‘s Thomas Middleditch) decides to map out his life and figure out where it all went wrong. Ben has a neighbour named Tabby played by Diana Bang (The Interview), who helps him when he finds out that his parents adopted a baby girl right before they found out they were pregnant with him. Tracking down the woman that his parents gave away once they realized they could have their own child is the quest Ben decides to go on. Enter Jess Weixler (The Good Wife) as Hanna. Ben and the mysterious Hanna decide to explore a relationship and commiserate over the hard times they’ve both had in life.
Entanglement’s ability to get very dark and then make you laugh with such consistency is pretty impressive. Examples of this can be found during Ben’s very funny and touching interactions with a young girl (The Edge of Seventeen‘s Jena Skodje) at the children’s therapist’s office he insists on going to despite his age. However, it’s the strong performances by Middleditch, Bang, and Weixler that truly make the film feel special.
These three performances anchor a movie that involves hallucinations of cartoon deer, talking puppets, and bathroom mirror reflections that talk back – a movie that is interested in unpacking the circumstances that lead to attempted suicide. The fact that Entanglement never gets overwhelmingly whimsical or depressing has a lot to do with Middleditch’s ability to play the sadder moments in earnest and then being able to pivot into a joke organically to help brighten the mood. Bang also helps as the audience surrogate who genuinely wants what’s best for Ben. Weixler’s performance is charming and helps to keep things engaging.
Even though there are breadcrumbs littered throughout the film that lead to the inevitable conclusion of the movie, I found myself just living in the moment of each scene. There is a level of intimacy created between the audience and characters, especially Ben, that grabs your attention and makes you invest in how things will turn out.
Ultimately, Entanglement, is a story about learning how to be happy even when it seems impossible. Learning how to notice the things that could bring you genuine joy when you may have ignored or taken them for granted. This movie provides a great way to learn that skill.