Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Grace is Gone" is a touching human drama

My freelance review:
Watch for the film Grace is Gone, which played at the St. Louis International Film Festival.

John Cusack plays a loving but somewhat distant father whose military wife is killed in Iraq. He has two little girls and his task is to tell them of their mother's death. He's not used to being the decision maker in the family and struggles with how to tell them, so he abruptly takes them on a road trip to a Disney-type place before telling them.

This is a very touching, moving film and the actors (including Shélan O'Keefe and Gracie Bednarczyk as Cusack's daughters) are terrific. This is Cusack's breakthrough film; he's officially grown up now, in my book.

The film's score, by Clint Eastwood, is beautiful. The title song, by jazz musician Jamie Cullum, is quite powerful and hypnotic. This music will be playing on my iPod.

Grace is Gone is the winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival from January. In his director debut, writer/director James C. Strouse has delivered a beautiful, appropriately-slow moving film that offers some insightful reflections on life beyond pro-war or anti-war sentimentalities.

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