Directed by Jan Miller Corran, Along Came Wanda is an upcoming drama film starring Constance Brenneman, Cathy DeBuono and Monica Young. The film is produced by Three Women in a Box Films.
Mary Beth (played by Constance Brenneman) has just had a divorce from her husband Bill and is looking for a fresh start. A memory jogged by a teapot from an old lover quickly turns into an adventure of discovery for Mary Beth Higgins and her new found friend Wanda (played by Cathy DeBuono) as they hit the road on a road trip together, helping Mary clear her mind. Together, Mary and Wanda embark on an expansive adventure, first coming across a wellness facility run by the charming Daiku and then a ranch in the middle of the forest owned by the spiritual Davina. As Mary spends more and more time away from her house, her mind is cleared and she begins to enjoy life on her own terms.
The first thing about ‘Along Came Wanda’ is how funny it is. While Mary Beth is the more uptight and serious one, the bulk of entertainment is provided by her friend Wanda. Wanda lightens the mood and her side adventures keep the narrative going as well. Jan Miller Corran’s direction is pretty straightforward as she narratively approaches the film like a road trip. Running at a brisk 91 minutes, the film moves along nicely as Mary and Wanda move from place to place during the course of their adventure, meeting new people along the way. Being an LGBTQ movie, Jan Millar Corran approaches the subject matter with poise without being preachy. With Mary and Wanda falling in love by the end, Mary’s story of self discovery comes full circle.
A particular aspect that elevates the film is that Mary Beth frequently breaks the fourth wall while on her adventures. This gives the film a sort of a ‘Ferris Bueller’ vibe that is in line with the film’s quirky bits. It also helps the audience realize what Mary Beth is feeling every moment and the confusion in her subconscious that lingers on before she takes drastic decisions. This helps the audience identify with the protagonist more efficiently as well. Constance Brenneman is fantastic and in addition to the fact that she looks a lot like Michelle Pffiefer, Brenneman is easily the best actor in the entire production. She dives deep into her character, filling her role with depth and poise that elevates the whole film.
Talking about the technical aspects, the pacing comes along nicely and the visuals have a sunny California feel to it. Of particular attention are drone shots which are absolutely gorgeous. As Mary and Wanda go deeper into their road trip, they come across several stunning locations the country. Regarding music and audio, both add a nice flair to the narrative but in some scenes, it becomes clear that limitations that the technical team had to indulge in due to the pandemic. In some of these scenes, the dialogue is not properly audible and could do well with a bit of tweaking.
To conclude, Along Came Wanda is a journey of self discovery of Mary Beth as she strives to seek a deeper meaning into her life. Featuring great acting, beautiful locations and a quirky romcom story, Along Came Wanda is a good time at the movies for a laid back saturday.
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