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|Festivale Summer 1996|
Grace of My Heart movie review Dec-Jan, 1996-7)
|Grace of My Heart
The story of a time, and a building, and one woman's talent lost and found.
Allison Anders is a film-maker. She is the kind of person for whom big-name 'talent' work at scale (ordinary people rates). She has insight, craft, purpose, and she works with people who value these things.
In Grace of My Heart Anders brings together a diversity of actors, one of whom is a substitute for a building that for a while seemed to be the music capital of America.
The film is a wondrous melding of female history and music history. Anders tells the story of music production in the fifties and sixties through the career of Denise Waverly (Illeana Douglas). Douglas is no bimbo. She boasts strength and courage and accessibility, not silicone breasts and collage lips. That Anders chose Douglas for this role is a good indicator that this is no glossy Doris Day musical.
Which is exactly what I expected. I thought that this might even be a DD remake. It isn't.
I love Patsy Kensit as the English songwriter who is paired with Denise against their own better judgment. Grace of My Heart is a celebration of talent working together. And because it is written and directed by a woman, there is none of the shit that we were taught in script writing class. In mine, they said you could assume that two women in one house would fight. No further motivation required.
Well, bull. Women love working together, and it was wonderful to see that reality up there on the big screen.
Take note (no pun intended). Take your daughters and sons. Let 'em see.
|And while they're at it. Let them have a look at the creative process. That bleeding, wondrous, soul-destroying, mind-blowing, creative experience.
Grace of My Heart makes an interesting companion piece to Harriet the Spy.
For those who love music, and believe that music transcends the generations, Grace of My Heart is a fascinating project. Under the watchful eye of music supervisor Karyn Rachtman, an original soundtrack was developed using a blend of talent across the generations to create works that reflected the period, but had contemporary appeal.
Elvis Costello and Burt Bacarach collaborated on God Give Me Strength; Gerry Goffin, Louise Goffin and David Baerwald wrote Between Two Worlds; Carole Bayer Sager and Dave A. Stewart wrote I do - and that's just a sample. Many of these collaborations were across great distances and relied on fax machines and answering machines.
This is not an action adventure, its drama is in the characters and the time, its about what is happening to the characters, and what they are doing to themselves.
If you love music, or well-crafted films, this one's for you.
For credits and official site details, click here.
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|Just the facts:
Grace of My Heart
The Players: Illeana Douglas, John Turturro, Matt Dillon, Eric Stolz, Bruce Davison, Patsy Kensit, Jennifer Leigh Warren
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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