Saturday, November 6, 2010

I don't even know what I'm qualified to do...

*tap tap tap* This thing on?

So, it's been a while. Okay. Maybe more than a while. Real Life got in the way of important things like blogging for a few months, but I never intended to abandon this thing entirely. That said, the reason I'm back to post one more review is because of a movie that's quite a bit like my Real Life: No Footing.

Rowan alum Michael Licisyn screened his film for current students and faculty last night in an event hosted by the Cinema Workshop. No Footing tells the story of Madison (Jensen Bucher), a 23-year-old art school graduate trying to get her life on track. Despite her Bachelor's degree, she finds herself working in a copy shop for an unbearably absurd boss (a perfectly over-the-top performance by Derek Lindeman). She can barely pay the bills and is far too drained at the end of the day to paint for herself, let alone pursue the dream of making a living with her art.

She feels stuck and alone when she finds herself continually bumping into Christopher (Jake Matthews), a kindred spirit of sorts who gave up the theater in order to get a steady job as a high school guidance counselor. Their relationship is refreshingly complex; this is not a love story, despite one very suggestive dream sequence. Instead they are not quite even friends. Their dynamic is one of a mentor and protegee. Madison latches onto him in the hopes that he can teach her how to cope with what she perceives as failure. In turn, he teaches her to take responsibility for her own happiness.

In a Q&A session after the film, Licisyn stated that Madison's journey was based largely on his own, when he was struggling to establish himself after graduation. This may be why the film rings so true. Madison's world is the same one that I'm living in, as are many of my peers, and Licisyn explores the myriad of ways in which we all cope with it. Like Madison's best friend Kylie, I chose to extend my undergraduate education by an extra year (although I didn't fail any classes in order to do it). Like Madison herself, most of my friends who have already graduated are working low-wage jobs unrelated to their majors. Madison's parents are my parents, down to the mother pushing for a career in teaching as a back-up plan. And of course everyone has a Cory (Michael Bower, better known as "Donkeylips" to those of us who were kids in the '90s), that eccentric success story we can't help but look at with envy. This film captures all the uncertainty of entering adulthood at a time when degrees are plentiful but jobs are few, and it does so with a subtlety that is absent from most coming-of-age stories.

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