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Grace Is Gone

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

(No longer in theaters)
  • Rating: PG-13 — for thematic material, brief strong language and teen smoking
  • Director: James C. Strauss   Cast: Nathan Adloff, Heather O. Craig, John Cusack, Doug Dearth, Michael Thomas Dunn
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review

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Genre

Drama

Producer

Paul Bernstein

Distributor

The Weinstein Company

Release Date

Dec 7, 2007

Release Notes

NY/LA

Review

James Strouse’s film creates a small frame and fills it to bursting. The title character doesn’t appear in the movie; she’s a sergeant in Iraq who dies in action. It falls to her husband (John Cusack) to tell their two daughters, ages 8 and 12. Anguished, scared, loving, he stalls … and stalls … and spontaneously drives them to a theme park in Florida. In the first few minutes, I felt like Captain Kirk at the approach of an enemy starship: “Shields up, Mr. Sulu.” The movie disarmed me, though, not with torpedoes but with so many revelatory moments that it was impossible to remain walled-off. Observe the wariness of Shélan O’Keefe as the daughter who knows but doesn’t want to know, the touching childishness of Gracie Bednarczyk as her younger sister, and Cusack’s affecting imbalance. Grace Is Gone suggests that denial can be an act of faith and love—although not a design for living. Alessandro Nivola as Cusack’s antiwar brother adds the perfect anti-grace note.

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