A Military Loss
Sitting in a room surrounded by women Stanley Phillips (John Cusack), a small store manager, feels awkward despite being in the same situation, well their husbands are in the army and in Stanley's case it is his wife who is in the army, serving overseas. But when Stanley receives the devastating news that his wife has been killed in Iraq it leaved him shell-shocked and unable to tell his two daughters that their mummy is dead. On the spur of the moment he decides to take his girls on a road trip to a Florida amusement part, stopping of at his mom's along the way. His eldest daughter, Heidi (Sh?lan O'Keefe), suspects some thing is not right and tries to work out what he is keeping from them.
Few movies have left me as torn as "Grace Is Gone" because I found it both fascinating and tedious, some thing which shouldn't happen but it did. Let me deal with the positive first and the movie is simple as we watch a father trying to find the right time to tell his daughters that their mum is dead. But it is fascinating because as the movie unfolds we learn various things such as Stanley had been so desperate to serve in the army that he cheated on his medical and as such you need to read between the lines and wonder whether he feels like it should have been him. As such John Cusack delivers a very strong performance of a man who is literally shell shocked and has no idea how to deal with the situation.
The thing about "Grace Is Gone" is that it is a very minimal movie which often just seems to be trying to observe the situation. It makes it often feel extremely slow going and that is why despite the interesting storyline and themes covered I also found it tedious. It is because so much of the movie keeps us purely as spectator that I found it a struggle and maybe those who can connect with the situation more of how you tell a child their mother has died might find it a much more dramatic and intense experience.
What this all boils down to is that for me "Grace is Gone" had a good storyline, good performances and covered an interesting situation. But all of this was undone because it ended up feeling very slow going and drawn out.