Friday, May 30, 2008


ABOUT: Grace Is Gone is a 2007 film starring John Cusack as a father who does not want to tell his two daughters that their mother has died while serving in Iraq. On January 29, 2007, it won the Audience Award for Drama at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

There was a time when Stanley Phillips could see his entire life clearly. He dreamed of patriotic service and was destined for a military career. He came close to that dream until it was cut short simply because of his poor eyesight. Now he's serving customers at a home supply store while his sergeant wife is fighting in Iraq. Equally as awkward at home as he is at work, he's raising Heidi, their 12-year-old daughter, and Dawn, her 8-year-old sister. Although a loving father, Stanley is unable to conform to a more affectionate role, and the girls miss their mother deeply.

While tolerating his job and stumbling through parenting he is abruptly awakened when tragedy strikes. Ill prepared to deal with it himself, he is at a complete loss contemplating how to tell his children. He's desperate to delay telling the children, so they embark on a spontaneous road trip. Grasping to give them their last moments of innocence, Stanley reveals a softer side as they travel to Dawn's chosen destination: Enchanted Gardens Theme Park. The farther they drive, the closer they become, yet Stanley knows he must face the inevitable task of changing their lives forever.

MY REVIEW: John Cusack is underrated as an actor I think. I know he is well known and everyone likes him but I don't think he gets much credit for his acting. If he did then people would talk more about his performances in movies like Say Anything, Being John Malkovich and High Fidelity which he should have been nominated for an Oscar for. Sure he's been in some bad ones and in his fair share of action movies. But I've never heard anyone talk about how good of an actor he really is. With his performance in Grace Is Gone, its the first time I have heard people talk about how good he really is.

Although the film didn't receive a wide release and quickly faded away, its a good film with a great performance by Cusack. It's not his best but he is the one who makes the movie worth it. There have been better movies dealing with lost loved ones to the war in Iraq. Especially documentaries like HBO's Last Letters Home. It's the performances that make the movie stand out along with its story. I can't recall a movie yet that has the role reversed and had the husband have to tell his children that their mom died in the war.

There isn't many actors in the movie besides Cusack and the two girls who play his daughters. I think the movie would have been a disaster if the girls couldn't act, but they sure can. There wasn't a moment in the film where they didn't seem like they were actually sisters. Their performances are almost as good as Cusack's and that is an important thing to have because if it was just Cusack acting alone in this film then I don't think it would have worked.

There are moments where the movie drags along but the ending makes up for it. The ending, when the time comes for him to tell his daughters about what happened to their mom, is sad and believable. Cusack is great in this scene and I hope he continues to do scenes like this more often.

The DVD has no features at all. None. So, that sucks.

MY CHEESY RATING: Grace Is Gone but she will be remembered with a 6 out of 10.



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