Entanglement review: A coincidental romance

(pictured) Thomas Middleditch as Ben in the Dark Star Pictures romance comedy, Entanglement, Photo Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures
(pictured) Thomas Middleditch as Ben in the Dark Star Pictures romance comedy, Entanglement, Photo Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures /

From Silicon Valley to The Final Girls, Thomas Middleditch’s reputation as a talented and quick-witted actor continues to grow. Now he attempts to flex his romantic/dramatic muscles with the surreal romance dramedy, Entanglement.

We’ve all seen all types of romance films on the big (and little) screen at some point in our lives. Whether war romances or lovable slapstick romance comedies, the concept of a story involving a pair of people growing fond of each other in a romantic manner is as old as the concept of a story itself. It’s difficult to find a romance story that feels utterly original and rare in its content and execution. However, screenwriter Jason Filiatrault enlists the help of director Jason James and actors Jess Weixler and Diana Bang, to help tell his own unique tale of love, Entanglement.

Rarely do scientific phenomenons make up the solid core for something akin to a romance film, but Entanglement takes that bold narrative step with confidence and honor. The very idea of quantum entanglement (the phenomenon where two particles or similar properties are bound together at their nature, regardless of their distance from each other) plays a huge factor in this romance that exhibits themes of existentialism, appropriately tying them together for this strange cinematic experience. Strange in a positive manner or negative?

Thomas Middleditch in Entanglement
(pictured) Thomas Middleditch as Ben in the Dark Star Pictures romance comedy, Entanglement, Photo Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures /

Lost connection

Entanglement establishes its surreal and dreamlike tone right from the stinger of an opening scene, depicting Ben (Thomas Middleditch) as a lonely and depressed man who tries to commit suicide in his bathtub. A playful, yet dreary atmosphere ensues, as Ben, still recovering from his attempted suicide and divorce from his wife, becomes obsessed with the idea of quantum entanglement.

The interest turns into obsession when he finds out he almost had an adoptive sister, until his parents gave her away. This obsession leads him to meet Hanna (Jess Weixler), who is revealed to be his long-lost adoptive sister. As the two continue to become friendly towards each other, new feelings and revelations are unearthed, as Ben comes to discover the strange nature of love.

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It may not have the most exciting synopsis, but amid its patient pace, Entanglement always manages to keep interest thanks to the odd story and tone. Not one for being grouped in with a large group of stale and generic romance films, Entanglement takes the audience on a surreal ride through the slowly fading psyche of a man desperate for love and, most of all, purpose.

Ben is the type of person that fully believes in the idea of chance and fate, with many of the plot conveniences in the story serving to purposely whip Ben further into this state of mind. Despite the romance being a huge aspect of the film, Entanglement is at its strongest when the film attempts to explore the meaning of chance and whether it truly is a work of fate or simply a coincidence.

As much a tale of existence as it is one of love, James’ gleefully odd romance is a touching commentary on fate, amid some questionable and logic-free decisions made towards the third act, which I will not spoil. But you’ll know them when you see them.

Leave it to chance

Thomas Middleditch in the Dark Star Pictures film, Entanglement
(pictured) Thomas Middleditch as Ben in the Dark Star Pictures romance comedy, Entanglement, Photo Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures /

What truly helps sell the crazy story of Entanglement is its small but noteworthy cast. Among the leads is Silicon Valley member, Thomas Middleditch, whose understated but charming and charismatic performance helps carry the film through its highs and dragging lows. As Ben, Middleditch conveys a sense of vulnerability and fragility that is easy to connect to, even from the first couple of scenes. He takes a role that begs for the audience to pity and ridicule him and makes it into a down-to-Earth performance that doesn’t beg for pity, but confidently encourages empathy. Beautifully, yet realistically flawed, Middleditch’s performance perfectly captures the spirit of a lowly, but lovable everyday man.

In addition to Middleditch’s leading performance, Entanglement manages to score bigger with solid supporting players. One of the most notable being that of Diana Bang, playing the sassy but supportive neighbor, Tabby Song.

A reluctant observer to Ben’s ramblings and subsequent adventures with his adoptive sister, Song is a character who finds herself conflicted about Ben’s situation, acting as more of a supportive roommate than simply a neighbor. She’s not always around, which is shame, since her motives and development felt a little underwritten, making her third act appearances feel emotionally distant as a result. Despite her underused character, Bang brings her A-game, crafting a character that’s both sassy and responsible in her treatment of Ben. A sympathetic character throughout the film, Tabby’s presence brings a genuine sweetness to the dramedy.

Jess Weixler (left) and Thomas Middleditch (right) in the Dark Star Pictures film, Entanglement
(pictured) Jess Weixler as Hanna,Thomas Middleditch as Ben in the Dark Star Pictures romance comedy, Entanglement, Photo Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures /

Last, but definitely not least, we have the carefree, rebellious and playful adoptive sister of Ben, Hanna, played by Jess Weixler, of Teeth fame. Literally bumping into Ben in public, Hanna begins to insert herself into his life, forming a unique bond with him in the process. Her character isn’t anything new or original in any way; the rebellious and laid-back love interest is something that has become almost a staple of romance films.

Still, Weixler brings enough style to the role to make it her own, making for a believable character with her own ticks and quirks. It may not be a flashy performance, but regardless, Weixler’s acting brings life to an otherwise mundane character.


Entanglement‘s other strength relies on its incredibly whimsical and dreamlike atmosphere. As we explore the mentality of Ben, we begin to see the world through his eyes, making for some odd visual treats and an overall sense of fantasy that was refreshing to see in what could’ve been a generic romance dramedy.

A couple of scenes crank the whimsical level up to 11, including a strange animated deer sequence that’s still messing with my head, even after seeing it. The decision doesn’t always make for a coherent narrative, especially towards the third act, where the film begins to fall apart at the seams after a stunning reveal. So stunning that it made me question exactly what was happening. I wouldn’t say it’s a well-thought out twist, but at least there’s an attempt to capitalize on it, even if the reveal just leaves us with more questions.

Jess Weixler (left) and Thomas Middleditch (right) in Entanglement
(pictured) Thomas Middleditch as Ben and Jess Weixler as Hanna in the Dark Star Pictures romance comedy, Entanglement, Photo Courtesy of Dark Star Pictures /

Beyond that, Entanglement‘s biggest overall weakness is its utter lack of energy and style. Don’t get me wrong, it has something of a surreal style to it, but even that’s not enough to stop the film from spinning its own wheels for much of the middle. The period when Hanna meets Ben and begins to hang out with him starts off well, but meanders to the point of almost complete pointlessness, as we just witness them…do stuff. Like eating, going on walks, swimming.

The 2016 film, Paterson, had a meandering presence throughout, but that served a purpose to the themes of the overall story. Here, it simply feels like it’s wasting time. Worst yet, it’s wasting time on a period of the film that appears to be the most emotionally distant of the whole film. The cast saves the film, but that doesn’t mean they save the mundane parts.


Entanglement, despite its flaws, is an interesting case for a romance film. There aren’t a whole lot of romance tales that outright challenge the concept of fate and coincidence, while also trying to make a cute dramedy in the process. The film doesn’t succeed at every goal it appears to set, but the benefits outweigh the flaws in this intriguing and somewhat pleasant experience of a love/existential story. The cast, specifically Middleditch, Weixler and Bang, brings enough life to the movie to warrant a watch, even if it’s just to admire their performances. Additionally, the film’s surrealism and lack of logical thought at times makes for a trippy, yet enjoyable experience, even as the film falters towards the finish line.

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Will this be remembered as one of the best films of 2018? More than likely not. However, this does show potential for Jason James and screenwriter Jason Filiatrault. There’s a clear effort to make a unique love story here and even when the film sputters, there’s elements of genuine brilliance that I would love to see utilized in future works and projects. Maybe even bring back some of the members of the cast to help out as well.

If there’s more Thomas Middleditch in the future, that’s something I’d be perfectly fine with. As a whole, I do recommend this film, although prepare to use your brain cells during it, even if you’re using them to try and figure out what the hell’s going on. At least that’s something.

Final Verdict: 6/10

Entanglement is playing in theaters now!