What You Need To Know:
The low-budget quirkiness of A SLIPPING-DOWN LIFE often shows, but it has a positive message about marriage, commitment, and integrity. Writer and director Toni Kalem makes viewers root for both Evie and her marriage with Drum. Extreme caution is required, however, because of foul language, sexual references, and adult themes not appropriate for impressionable minds.
(Ro, B, C, LL, V, S, N, AA, D, M) Light Romantic worldview where bad family situations and social environments stifle lead characters, with some moral elements extolling marriage, commitment, and integrity, and Christian sign talks about being born again; 18 obscenities (including some “f” words), three strong profanities, and three light profanities; some violence such as woman carves name into her forehead off-screen, bloody bandage, image of stitches, one pratfall, brief fighting; drunken town slut briefly makes lewd comments and gestures, bedroom scene on couple’s honeymoon (nothing shown), and drunken woman keeps saying, “It all comes down to sex” while trying to seduce married man, but he rejects her; upper male nudity, woman in nightgown, and woman wears short skirts; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking; and, obsession to the point of hurting yourself and some moral relativism where the ends seem to justify the means.
Based on a novel by Anne Tyler, A SLIPPING-DOWN LIFE is a low-budget drama centering on a lonely, timid young woman who takes dramatic actions, some bad, some good, to change her life. Despite a problematic beginning, the movie becomes a sweet story of making an effort to save your marriage and turn around your life.
Lili Taylor plays Evie Decker, a shy young woman who becomes intrigued by a local rock guitarist, Drumstrings Casey, who has a habit of stopping his catchy songs and musing enigmatically and poetically about life. Evie’s infatuation becomes such an obsession that she carves his last name into her forehead.
Drum and his manager, who also happens to be his drummer, decide to capitalize on the publicity that Evie’s action brings to their music. Drum finds himself falling for Evie. Against everybody’s advice, he decides to marry Evie. Sure enough, their marriage hits some rocky times. Drum’s commitment starts to waver, but Evie remains strong in her commitment to both their marriage and Drum’s music. She gives her husband some ultimatums, but can her strong will convert him and save both their marriage and her husband’s career? The answer to that is yes.
A SLIPPING-DOWN LIFE is rated R for foul language and some sexual references that mostly come from the movie’s sleaziest character, the drunken town slut. It is a quirky love story that is very forgiving of the flaws in its two lead characters. For example, Evie takes a moral relativistic approach to her self-mutilation, as if the ends justify the means. Still, what ultimately shines through by the end of the movie is a strong view of marriage and commitment. Writer and director Toni Kalem makes viewers root for both Evie and her marriage with Drum. When they finally find new happiness, it makes viewers happy as well.
This movie requires extreme caution, however, for its negative content, which is not appropriate for very impressionable or sensitive hearts and minds. The uplifting, positive ending does not overcome all the movie’s bad parts.