Slipping-Down Life, A1999

Guy Pearce (Memento) and Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under) prove inspired casting for this otherwise mixed adaptation of Anne Tyler's novel. Taylor is Evie, a shy young woman stuck in a dead-end job (she wears a rabbit costume at a kiddie park) and living with her withdrawn father (Tom Bower). Something leaps to life in Evie when she hears the music of local wannabe rock star "Drum" Casey (Pearce), and she begins to live for his success--not as a groupie, but as a deeply stirred convert who even carves his name in her forehead. The two join over a mutual sense of mission and even marry, but as soon as the wildness in Evie's heart is tempered, Drum's self-doubt goes through the roof. Actress Toni Kalem (Sister Act) makes her directorial debut and, while she does an exceptional job shaping performances, the film is distractingly busy and weak in structure. --Tom Keogh

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