Obviously, watching the film “no footing” in 2011 brings to mind the tough economic times of college graduates since the economic collapse in 2008. But as I was watching the film, all I could think of were the first 18 months after my own graduation from college in 2001. I had graduated with a degree in music industry and sound recording; the natural progression would have been, obviously, to find a job at one of Atlanta’s many recording studios, and believe me, I tried. I sent out resumes, and ended up with a couple of interviews, but nothing really happened. In November of ’01, I took a job at one of the local movie theatres. The rest, as they say, is history.
For 23-year-old Madison Parker (Jensen Bucher), the heroine of the “no footing,” the story is very much the same. She graduated college with a degree and passion in fine arts and design, but the job market was difficult. Eighteen months later, she’s still working at the copy place she was in school, and interviews have kind of dried up. Speaking from experience, it’s a pretty demoralizing place to be. Even worse for Madison, her long-time boyfriend, Dylan (Frank Vain), is cheating on her, and acts as though it was a long time coming. And the more people she meets, the worse things are getting for her.
The film plays so close to reality when it comes to Madison’s current dilemmas that it’s pretty disappointing when the comic characatures Madison runs into not only at her job, but in her everyday life when it comes to old high school friends, drag the film’s quality down a little too much. It doesn’t do so enough, however, to keep us from continuing to identify and sympathize with Madison, and Bucher’s engaging performance. One set of interactions that do succeed in writer/director Michael Licisyn’s comedic tale are Madison’s scenes with Christopher (Jake Matthews), a guidance counselor at the local high school who has more than just generic platitudes for Madison when it feels like she’s truly given up. That gives her the push she’s needed to discover that, while life hasn’t turned out the way she hoped, that doesn’t mean that, at 23, her life is doomed to failure; it just means there’s more potential available to her to do something more. Flaws be damned– when a movie has THAT kind of message, one that I can truly identify with, that’s a movie I can get behind.