9/20/09

Isn't She Lovely ? : Grace

Among the many shocking aspects of the movie, Grace, is the small but important fact that this film was written and directed by a man. Paul Solet's bizarre and disturbing fairy tale concerning motherhood is so female-centric, that I was kind of blown away upon discovering that a male delivered this bundle of bloody joy.
***
Jordan Ladd and Stephen Park play Michael and Madeline Matheson, a young couple expecting a child. While the Matheson's seem like a relatively happy couple, it's clear that things are not picture perfect between them - in an early scene we watch as the couple are having sex, she stares off impassively, seemingly in another world; after that we are introduced to Michael's parents, and it's quite clear that Madeline and her husband's mother's relationship is strained at best (it's actually quite amusing as Michael's mother, Vivian, played by Gabrielle Rose, sniffs and picks at the vegan meal her daughter-in-law has prepared - Rose is the kind of actress who says more with the arch of an eyebrow than most can with ten pages of dialogue).

One night, as the couple are driving home from a maternity room misadventure, they are involved in a car accident. The wreck claims the life of Michael, but Madeline is OK. Unfortunatley, it seems that her unborn child is not.

Depressed, and despondent, Madeline decides to continue her pregnancy and deliver her child stillborn.

Several weeks later, with the help of a midwife (Samantha Ferris) and her assistants, the child comes, and is, indeed, dead. Still, Madeline wants to hold the lifeless baby ...and then, miracle of miracles, the baby seemingly comes back to life ... and that's when the fun begins.

Postpartum craziness ensues as Madeline slowly discovers that her daughter, Grace, does not want milk or formula, and that, in fact, this little bambino craves human blood to sustain itself. Like any good mother, she does what she has to do to see that her child is fed, and if that means letting her baby suckle at her breast until it draws blood, so be it!


As Madeline goes deeper and deeper into dark places, those around her are doing the same. Her mother-in-law, Vivian, still grieving the loss of her son, wants to be a mother again. At first she has her husband suck at her teat (this scene alone might be one of the most disturbing in the film), later on, she finds her old breast pump and discovers that she can still express milk. The midwife, we discover, was once Madeline's lover, and she's still carrying a torch for her. And what about Vivian's accomplice, Doctor Sohn (Malcolm Stewart) what kind of kinky secrets is he hiding?

Considering that Grace was marketed as a horror film, it is understandable that the audience it was aimed at might have missed the point (go to the comment sections of Grace on IMDB if you want proof - man, some folks are pretty dense) The film is much more of a satire than anything. Helicopter parenting, vegan lifestyles, New Age beliefs, the medical profession, mother hood...each of these topics is skewed masterfully in Grace.

If I have any complaints about this movie, it's the ending. I understand that Solet wanted to give his audience a nice shock at the denouement, but, for me, at least, it seemed to fall flat. But, hey, that's only a very small criticism - and after thinking about it, I can't imagine how anyone could have neatly wrapped this story up (when you watch it, you'll understand).

Great acting by all, a credible and disturbing script, and the cutest monster ever seen in a movie (to borrow from Stevie Wonder, Isn't She Lovely?) Grace is probably one of the best horror/satire/suspense films made in a very long time.

I think that Grace would play great on a double bill with À l'intérieur



4 comments:

B-Sol said...

It certainly was amazing, wasn't it? I agree, a perfect double bill with Inside, both are equally disturbing and tread similar ground.

Pax Romano said...

B-Sol, that it was, sir. I have been thinking about it all day.

Carl (ILHM) said...

Agreed Pax, this was easily one of the most original and stylish Indie flicks I have seen in quite some time, reminds me of REPULSION in many ways only with a supernatural twist

Alana said...

Hi Pax-y,

OK, yay! I finally saw "Grace" last night.

The most disturbing scene in the film was the first: a woman staring off into space while a man fucks her, ejaculates, leaves, and then we're left watching the woman cradle her own legs to her chest.

Disturbing because it's common place. Nice way to set up a satirical horror film, yeah?

I was with this film the whole way. I loved it. Dug the satire. Loved my feelings of discomfort. Loved it until the end, that is.

And because of the way the film ends, I ultimately hate the movie.

Look, if you're going to make a movie as bold and intellectually, not to mention emotionally challenging, as "Grace" you can't punk out with such an easy, dip shit ending. Sorry. I'm not a moron. You owe me more than that.

Peace,
A