In Groundhog Day, Phil (Bill Murray) lives the same day over and over again thanks to some mysterious unknown force. But for Sherry Graham (Caroline Dhavernas), her day repeats by her own doing in writer/director Adam Keleman’s Easy Living.
Every day, Sherry wakes up chanting self-help sales mantras as motivation to get out of bed and hit the pavement selling make up door-to-door. Sherry grinds out her day earning commissions for a typical multi-level cosmetics company and hosts Avon-like parties at night. Her day ends at a local bar, getting drunk and finding human connections through one-night stands.
“Deep down…we want our characters to figure it out and rise to the occasion.”
Sherry’s life is a grind, and her only complication is her estranged daughter, Alice (Taylor Richardson), who lives with Sherry’s sister Abby (Elizabeth Marvel). Abby is frustrated that Sherry is not taking her life seriously. What was supposed to be a few weeks caring for Alice has turned into years of raising her niece as her own child.
A guilt-ridden Sherry promises her sister that she’s visit more and contribute financially to raising Alice. Motivated to change her life for the better, Sherry teams up with her best friend, Danny (Jen Richards) to open a beauty salon. But starting a business is not easy.
Easy Living is a character study of a real-life Peter Pan, who can’t quite find the doorway into adulthood. Sherry’s life is simple: work and play. She uses sex and alcohol to avoid taking responsibility for the choices made in her past. She has adult friends and family, but serve to enable Sherry’s behavior.
“Easy Living is a character study of a real-life Peter Pan, who can’t quite find the doorway into adulthood.”
As a film, I went back and forth on recommending Easy Living. The film has a strong cast. As the lead, Caroline Dhavernas is fascinating as Sherry. I found myself hating the character but admiring the performance. Maybe because we all know real people like this and in turn frustrate the hell out of you.
Like the character of Sherry, the story is also a source of great frustration. Deep down as human beings, we want our characters to figure it out and rise to the occasion. Instead, they find no hope in the future and self-destruct in disturbing ways. They say the path to recovery first starts with hitting rock bottom. For Easy Living, we follow the life of someone who is still a few floors away from the bottom.
Easy Living (2017). Written and directed by Adam Keleman. Starring Caroline Dhavernas, Elizabeth Marvel, and Jen Richards.
3 out of 5 stars