“Footprints” is one of those films that is almost innocuous in its charm. Telling the story of a woman (Sybil Temtchine) who wakes up with amnesia outside the doors of the famed Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, “Footprints” floats along in a bubble of non-reality (you’ll never see the area surrounding Hollywood and Highland so clean, or so sparsely populated). As the mystery of who this woman is unfolds on Hollywood Boulevard, the audience gets to meet many of the colorful characters populating the strip of dreams, such as tour guides, Scientology auditors and super hero costumed actors.
The pacing is very slow and deliberate; keep in mind you’re watching a potential amnesia patient wander Hollywood Boulevard in the hopes of figuring something, anything out about her life. This leads to lots of slow strides and blank stares, and for some this type of ponderous filmmaking can come across less as a mystery being unraveled and more of a exercise in boredom. While I think I kept with the film for most of it, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to checking the watch a couple times. Interesting story or no, after about an hour of blank stares and quiet, pensive line delivery, I needed something to keep me invested. Wanting to know who the main character was kept me in, but it did become challenging near the end.
Billing itself as a Fairy Tale, “Footprints” is just that: something whimsical and innocent, and therefore not wholly believable. But that’s not really the point of a Fairy Tale, is it? Perhaps imparting some moral is, but to be honest, whatever moral may have existed in the film, beyond perseverance, got by me.
All that said, the strength of the film is its quiet charm. Save for a few moments when reality is forced into the proceedings (usually involving someone using profanity, which seems ridiculously out of place in the otherwise clean and sterile amnesia-girl bubble), the film is just a sweet story. Will it change your life? Probably not, but it will entertain, and even if you do find it eventually gets too slow for your tastes, the film at least delivers enough memorable performances for you to at least walk away with something.
Honestly, this was a hard film to review. I didn’t dislike the film, but I didn’t love it either. I like the idea of a sweet, charming Fairy Tale set on Hollywood Boulevard, but I wasn’t always onboard with the way the idea was executed. “Footprints” is just one of those movies that I watch, say “that was nice” and then move on. Not every film has to be a cinematic revelation, right?