DVD Grace is Gone (DVD 1164274),
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Grace is Gone
Region 1 USA/CA (
Though 2007 saw a flood of Iraq-related films, GRACE IS GONE takes a different approach from many of the others. Unlike REDACTED and LIONS FOR LAMBS, this directorial debut from screenwriter James C. Strouse (LONESOME JIM) doesn't focus on the conflict itself. Instead, the drama looks at how the death of a female soldier affects her family at home. John Cusack (1408) is Stanley Phillips, a husband and father who waits while his wife Grace is off serving in Iraq. When he learns of her death, he can't bear to tell his two daughters the news. To postpone the inevitable, the normally staid father proposes a spontaneous road trip to his girls, and the three set off for the fun of an amusement park called Enchanted Gardens.
GRACE IS GONE picked up a pair of awards at Sundance: the Audience Award and Best Screenplay. It's a deeply affecting drama that never resorts to manipulation in achieving its aims. Instead, it relies on the strong script from Strouse, as well as a trio of fantastic performances. As Stanley and Grace's young daughters, Gracie Bednarczyk and Shlan O'Keefe make memorable film debuts. Their relationships with both each other and their cinematic father feel completely genuine. As for Cusack, he trades in the swagger of Lloyd Dobler and Rob Gordon for Stanley Phillips's shuffle. The role is a complete departure for the veteran actor, and the change is a welcome one that should win him both critical praise and awards. The film's tone is sweet and sad, though never overwhelmingly so, and it's helped by excellent cinematography from Jean-Louis Bompoint and a quietly moving score from Clint Eastwood.
- for thematic material, brief strong language and teen smoking
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 81172
John Cusack, Alessandro Nivola, Gracie Bednarczyk, Shlan O'Keefe, Mary Kay Place
3 stars out of 4 -- "[The film has] the quiet power to sneak up and floor you..."
"[A] small, tender film about contemporary parenthood in wartime....[The film] evokes the daily lives of a father and his two children in perfect, unassuming performances with a close attention to detail that makes you feel like a fifth member of the family."
New York Times
3 stars out of 4 -- "GRACE IS GONE is as subtle and shattering as its title....A powerful and haunting meditation on loss and grief, it also makes a case against the war in Iraq."
"[A]n emotionally rich and satisfying drama featuring a terrifically understated performance from John Cusack."
Los Angeles Times
"[A] moving drama....[The performances] are uniformly great, particularly the understated Cusack and the grave Shelan O'Keefe..." -- Grade: B
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James C. Strouse
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