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A Slipping-Down Life

Slipping right through the cracks

In this quiet movie based on a novel by the same name written by Anne Tyler, a woman carves the name of a man into her forehead with a piece of broken glass. In any other film, this would be an act driven by a macabre mental sickness but here it's seen as just funny, a quirk rather than a psychosis.

Lili Taylor is Evie Decker, a lonely girl with low social skills trapped in small-town Georgia. Her saving grace comes in the form of a self-absorbed neo-beatnik musician named Drumstrings Casey (Guy Pearce who actually performs all the music in the movie). She feels as if his tortured-soul lyrics speak straight to her soul, and as a gesture of support (?) carves his name into her forehead, there's a fine line between an obsessed fan and a charming supporter. His manager uses this as a way to promote the band and the two are thrown together.

The motivations for her extreme behavior are never truly explained. Perhaps it is explored in depth in the novel but it is not done so here. Call me crazy, but I feel that if a character does something like that, it should be further explored.

Irma P. Hall from The Ladykillers as Clotelia is practically the only spot of joy and humor in the entire film. Shawnee Smith as the outrageous, promiscuous Faye and Sara Rue as Evie's best friend Violet are also notable figures of comical relief amidst the melancholy of Evie's day-to-day existence.

Stars: 2 out of 5

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