Saving Grace (2000) Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson, Martin Clunes, Tchéky Karyo Movie Review

Saving Grace (2000)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Brenda Blethyn and Leslie Phillips in Saving Grace (2000)

Herbal Hilarity

When her husband dies jumping out of a plane without his parachute he left his wife Grace Trevethyn (Brenda Blethyn) having to deal with everything on her own. And what a mess he left her in with unpaid bills, huge debts and her home under threat of being repossessed. The thing is that it seems everyone else in the village knew her husband was not only no good but had a woman on the side. But things take an unusual turn when her handyman Matthew (Craig Ferguson) asks for her green fingered advice about his small crop of marijuana plants which he has been secretly growing in the grounds of the Vicarage. Soon Grace and Matthew have a money crop on their hand but this sort of money crop attracts attention as well as objections as Matthew's girlfriend is less than happy over what he has been up to.

"Saving Grace" is a movie in the tradition of British cinema where we have a small community of quirky characters who are almost like those lost tribes in the Amazon rainforest have gone untouched for years. It means we have all the usual quirks from the couple of friendly gossips who work in the local shop to the community doctor who smokes dope outside at a wake and having to hold his breath when the local cop comes to speak to him. The thing is that whilst it is all familiar it works because for years the quirkiness of the characters in a small British village has provided plenty to smile about.

Craig Ferguson in Saving Grace (2000)

And in that tradition of British comedies we have the good folks of the village pulling a fast one by showing contempt for the law and rallying around anyone who basically threatens one of their own. Now hiding bottles of whisky from a shipwrecked cargo ship or trying to claim a winning lottery ticket belonging to a dead person is nothing like a sweet little lady growing a crop of drugs in her greenhouse and trying to sell it to a dealer in London but it still works. In truth it is the sort of thing which you can only really get away with in a British comedy and doesn't translate well when others try to replicate the insular community of quirky individuals and their law breaking exploits.

But the crown in all this is Brenda Blethyn who makes Grace the sort of naive woman who you just take to your hearts as she doesn't have a mean bone in her body and wouldn't harm a fly. And she makes us laugh with her exploits be it from trying dope for the first time to the fake accent she puts on to avoid the phone calls from the bank. But the cast around her are just as good with Craig Ferguson working so well with Blethyn to make a heart warming but unlikely pair.

What this all boils down to is that whilst the drug storyline is unusual "Saving Grace" is a comedy in the tradition of British comedies with a quirky community, a sweet little lady and a complete disrespect for the law. It is the sort of movie which only seems to work when made in Britain and it puts a huge smile on your face.