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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review: Saving Grace (the Movie)

This weekend, I watched a movie called Saving Grace. It's a British film starring Barbara Blethyn as Grace and Craig Ferguson as Matthew. It was released in 2000.

WARNING: There will be spoilers.

When Grace is widowed, she discovers her two-timing husband has mortgaged everything to the hilt, including her home. She has no skills to use on the job market except gardening, but that won't bring in enough money fast enough to prevent foreclosure. Faced with losing everything, Grace teams up with Matthew to help him grow marijuana in her greenhouse. She plans to use the money to save her home, he wants to earn money so he can marry his girlfriend.

Though they don't know it, the entire small town they live in (it's set in Great Britain) is aware of what they're doing, including the constable. Matthew's girlfriend is pregnant, but doesn't tell him and she's afraid he's going to wind up in prison for drugs. When Grace discovers this, she decides to go to London to sell the pot herself. It's her dead husband's mistress who has the connection to a drug dealer who knows a major player, a man high enough up the food chain who could afford to buy all their crop.

Matthew and his friend show up in the middle of the transaction, nearly blowing everything, but just when we think everything is okay and Grace and her friends have left, the big dealer orders his henchmen to follow them.

I'd heard good things about this movie which is why I put it in my Netflix queue. I thought it was okay enough to watch till the end, but I wasn't blown away. Until the ending, but that wasn't in a good way. More on that later.

My first complaint about the movie was I had difficulty understanding what everyone was saying. Some of the accents were pretty thick. I'd like to blame it on the fact that the washer and dryer were both going while I was watching, but that might not be totally to blame. I think in America we're used to a very specific kind of British accent and when we hear other ones, we have a hard time. Or at least I do. I heard a Cockney accent when I was in Europe and I literally didn't understand more than a couple of words the man said.

Second complaint is the pace of the movie. Yes, we need to understand how desperate Grace's situation is and see her try all other alternatives to solve it before resorting to growing pot, but it seemed to take a long time for things to really start happening. I did keep watching, but that was more to do with the fact I was doing other stuff at the same time than with the movie itself.

My biggest complaint, however, was the ending. It came so far out of left field, it was truly bizarre. After Grace accidentally starts the pot on fire, it seems as if things are beyond salvation for her. We see a scene of a yard full of high people dancing around or lying around or whatever. The next thing you know, Grace has written a "fictional" book called The Joint Venture and is up for a book of the year award in New York City. She's also married to the big drug boss who has apparently reformed.

First of all, we see no clue that Grace has even had a small dream about writing, let alone put in the time it would take to become good at it. That was my first, huh?

Secondly, Grace is at a big gala in NYC that is being televised live in Britain. Everyone in her hometown is watching and it's night in England, too! That was my second, huh? There's a time difference. Even if everyone in her town wanted to stay up and watch it, would British television really be airing the book awards in the middle of the night? Or how about would British television be airing book awards at all? Heaven knows they don't show them in America.

Third, the drug lord reformed. Huh? Because he fell in love with Grace? Or had he wanted to go straight before he met her and just didn't have enough willpower to do it? They don't outright say he reformed, but it sure came across that way. Apparently, after being on the bestseller list for a year, Grace is making enough to support him lavishly.

There were some bright spots in the mostly dull movie. The funniest part was Grace with a tube of marijuana trying to find someone to sell it to. She's dressed in a white pantsuit with a white hat and is anything but unobtrusive.

I also liked how she handled the big drug lord when she met him. She wasn't exactly cool under pressure, but she wasn't cowed either. Quite a feat for a woman who rarely travels to London.

Overall the movie was okay, but not great.

My rating: 2.5 stars