Of Things Past – Film Review

OF THINGS PAST: Anatomy of a Miracle by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural

Amidst the trials and tribulations of the world, we may find moments of miraculous grace.  Pathways we never expected will open up and guide us to redemption from past missteps and delays that determined the course of our lives.

These statements sum up both the content and the context of the intriguing new film OF THINGS PAST starring Michael Moriarty, Louise Caire Clark, and Tara Reid in one of her first dramatic roles.  The central storyline with Moriarty and Clark playing a young married couple named Michael and Laura Dietrich was shot 37 years ago.  This footage appears in flashbacks that are discussed by the two women as Michael lies dying in a hospital bed.  Louise Caire Clark came out of retirement in 2022 just to film these later scenes.

The older footage resurrects a typically stunning performance from Michael Moriarty as a pensive physician’s assistant who was ironically unable to rescue his own two-year-old son from a fatal fall many years before.  He finally starts to forgive himself for his role in this tragedy when he saves Tara Reid’s school-age character Kiki from a car accident years later.

Dietrich’s doctor colleague offers a lengthy clinical explanation as to how the girl survived the accident almost in jest.  But we as audience members sense instead the workings of fate.

The aura of fatefulness is further created by the film’s brooding score and cinematography showcasing the rugged splendor of Mammoth Lakes, California.  The rift their son’s death causes between the Dietrichs is symbolized by their expert mastery of completely different musical instruments, the piano and the violin.  Michael Moriarty, an accomplished jazz pianist, composed and performed songs expressly for the film.

This reviewer does not wish to spoil the wistful magic found in OF THINGS PAST with further commentary or quotes.  Tone poems like this are sadly all too rare in American cinema.  OF THINGS PAST has a more European feel that compels us to slow down and savor both the past and the present as we look towards our future.  

The main question is whether Michael Moriarty can still get award nominations for a performance given in 1985.  If so, he is likely to add many more statues to his already overloaded mantel that contains Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe Awards.

OF THINGS PAST was reimagined by TGA Productions and Cedar Films Studios and directed by D. Paul Thomas and Eric Rafael Ibarra.  Tara Reid served as an executive producer.  On October 3rd the film will be released on Amazon, Vudu, and major cable channels’ VOD.


Directed by D. Paul Thomas and Eric Rafael Ibarra

Scripted by D. Paul Thomas, Frank Dent, and Peter J. Bollinger

Cinematography by Fred Paddock and Stephen Vanderpool

Prosthetics by Oscar winner Mathew Mungle

Stunt coordinator: “Doc” Duhame

Original soundtrack by Amanuel Zarzowski

Executive Producers: Dr. Sam Mayhugh, Peter J. Bollinger, Nora Betancourt, Eric Ibarra, D. Paul Thomas, Robert Vaughan, and Tara Reid

Distributor: Lion Heart Distribution

Dr. Laura Wilhelm holds a B.A. in Russian and Classics from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Russian language, literature, and linguistics from the University of Kansas.  Born in Philadelphia, Laura has lived in Los Angeles since 1994 and covered the exciting local and international entertainment scene in publications such as Cold Heat News, FVM Global, Hollywood Weekly, The Hollywood Times, Indie Entertainment Magazine, and Magic Image Hollywood Magazine.  Dr. Wilhelm runs an award-winning consulting company called LauraWil Intercultural; teaches courses on professional writing and public speaking; and serves as a board member, judge, and media partner for the French Riviera Film Festival. 

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