The nature of the relationship at the center of Entanglement is, to say the least, awkward, and that is before a pair of third-act revelations that force us to reevaluate everything we know. Jason Filiatrault's screenplay is a balancing act teetering constantly between genuine insight into our protagonist and sanctimonious claptrap that involves a lot of existential hooey about fate. Director Jason Jones' achievement is to make this story at least slightly palatable, at least until the second revelation. Yes, it is difficult to discuss without going into detail, and yes, the film treats these developments as revelations, meaning that it would be unfair to go into detail.
In any case, the story revolves around the process of healing for Ben (Thomas Middleditch), who tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide two times following a messy divorce, which itself came - or so Ben believes - after a short marriage in which his ex-wife had to deal with his clinical depression. He now pines for her, though it's a lost cause, and sees a psychiatrist (played by Johannah Newmarch) for his issues. He seems ignorant of the advances made toward him by Tabby (Diana Bang), a neighbor who clearly likes him and shows it by breaking into and cleaning his apartment. It's clear: Ben is in a rut.
That is until his parents reveal that he was almost not their only child. They had been planning to adopt, receiving notice that a baby girl would be arriving to their home on the same day they also found out they were expecting. For obvious reasons, this inspires Ben to find out what life might have been like with a sister, tracking down Hanna (Jess Weixler) in the process. Finding that they have more in common than a potentially shared childhood, a romantic connection develops between the two, likely due to the fact that Hanna represents for Ben everything that might fill the voids in his life.
Of course, it's all too good to be true, and that is meant in two ways that are nearly impossible to discuss at length. The first of the two unexpected developments casts the relationship into a place of suspicion, and the second one redefines everything we thought we knew. Had Filiatrault kept with that first development and followed through honestly, the result (particularly given Middleditch's solid, cautious performance) might have worked as a study of bouncing back from disappointment. By going forward with the second development, Entanglement becomes a series of mixed metaphors with a muddled purpose and a lot of dishonest manipulation along the way.
Thomas Middleditch (Ben), Jess Weixler (Hanna), Diana Bang (Tabby), Johannah Newmarch (Dr. Franklyn).
Directed by Jason Jones and written by Jason Filiatrault.
No MPAA rating.
Released in select cities on February 9, 2018.