A Slipping Down Life Movie Review
Toni Kalem's "A Slipping Down Life" has been sitting on the shelf since 1999, and it's not hard to see why. Based on Anne Tyler's novel, it tells the story of Evie Decker (Lili Taylor), an introverted small-town girl who becomes fascinated with a Jim Morrison-like singer/songwriter, Drumstrings Casey (Guy Pearce).
While the rest of Casey's audience grows impatient with his impromptu on-stage poetic babblings, Evie feels she understands him and carves his name on her forehead -- backwards so that she can read it in the mirror. Because of her stunt, she gets to meet her idol and forms a strange relationship with him.
"A Slipping Down Life" awkwardly straddles realism and dream imagery, but neither works very well. Evie is so shy and quiet that she appears psychologically damaged, and she is so incompatible with her two best friends (Shawnee Smith and Sara Rue) that you spend the film wondering why they would ever hang out together.
Taylor and Pearce are very good, but the film suffers from a severe case of the indie cutes. In other words, it deliberately tries to avoid mainstream storytelling by going off in unusual directions, but it does so without any kind of rhyme or reason. It gets the story across but it isn't cinema.