When I first saw the title of this film I had absolutely no idea what to expect, it could have been about anything. What I got was a heartwarming story about a father attempting to protect his children from the pain he felt – as any father would want to do. Although not the best film, it does have charm and raw emotion that more exciting films struggle to produce.
Grace is gone is, most of all, about a family bonding. That is the most accurate description I could come up with. To put more detail in to my description Grace is gone is about a father (John Cusack) dealing with his wife’s death whilst attempting to shield his two daughters from the pain he feels by taking them on a road trip instead of telling them about their mothers passing. Grace was a soldier at war when she got killed so the father got away with not telling them immediately.
If you like emotionally charged films then you should definitely check this one out. There is a scene where John Cusack’s character visits his, presumably, childhood home and goes up to one of the bedrooms slips in to the fetal position and just cries. This was the best scene in the film because it was so raw, there were no gimmicks or fancy camera movements it was just a husband pining after his late wife and it was beautiful.
It’s no secret that I love John Cusack as an actor, but it’s films like this that really show why I adore his acting abilities. He was barely recognizable as Cusack despite there being no make-up, weight gain or loss he just held his face differently, used different mannerisms and to be perfectly honest by the end of the film I had almost completely forgotten about the fact that this father was fictional. Bravo Cusack and James C Strouse (The Director and Writer) for that. However Cusack did not do this himself, his fabulous co-stars really brought the whole illusion together. Gracie Bednarczyk and Shelan O’Keefe played Cusack’s daughters and it really felt like he had a father-daughter bond with these girls.
As far as the technical side of this film goes it was nothing special. Although there was interesting lighting used when they were in the car together I feel like they didn’t want to take away from the emotion that the actors were portraying and to be honest it worked. When you have a film of this nature it is sometimes good to step back and go “my actors got this”. I imagine that when Strouse was writing this he was thinking how he could move the audience with out having anything particularly special happen.
One of the best things about this film that I believe makes it stand out over others is that we don’t see the wife. Normally in films like this we would have the flashbacks to happy times or a death scene, but no this film was better than all of that. Strouse knew that we didn’t have to actually see the wife to generate emotion, we just had to see the impact her being in the army had on her family.
In conclusion this is a great film if you are a fan of emotional films with out all the special effects, gimmicks or over complication of plot. This film is full of raw emotion and the acting is fantastic. I highly recommend it.