Somewhere Slow: Midlife Existentialism — Plus a Teenage Drifter


Jeremy O’Keefe’s sparsely plotted second feature reiterates a famous Talking Heads question of midlife existentialism (“You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”) but doesn’t offer enough in the way of subtext or mise-en-scène to fashion an answer.

With zits-and-all unsentimentality, Glee‘s Jessalyn Gilsig produces and stars as Anna, a 40-ish Delaware skin care rep whose obsessive vanity and crippling self-esteem issues have degenerated into lunchtime bulimia, a too-comfortable place in a loveless marriage, and an awkward estrangement from her sister and cancer-ridden mom.

On the same day she loses her job, Anna witnesses a botched gas-station robbery and double homicide, then makes a rare impulsive decision to take the money and run, which lands her on a bus to Maine and in the path of teenage Mormon drifter Travis (Graham Patrick Martin).

On the road to Anna’s childhood cottage, their mutual carpe diem blooming makes for such commonplace drama that what should come across as unpretentious banter reads as cornball (“I prefer to be anonymous on my journey to self-discovery,” Anna’s free-spirited new traveling companion says to explain his habit of giving fake names).

Gilsig’s transformation is quietly convincing, but the film itself is flatter and less cinematically gratifying than most television dramas.