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Grace Is Gone

No catharsis here, just soft piano keys
By NICK MCCARTHY  |  January 23, 2008
1.5 1.5 Stars
GraceIsGoneInside
John Cusack

Stanley Phillips (a weary John Cusack) may have difficulty admitting that Grace — his wife, who died fighting in Iraq — is gone, but first-time writer/director James C. Strouse has no trouble saying goodbye to his respect for audiences. Stanley represses his grief, makes impulsive decisions, frequently acts lost, and cannot find a way to tell the tragic truth to his daughters, Heidi (Shélan O’Keefe) and Dawn (Gracie Bednarczyk) — who might as well be named Precocious and Petulant, since they’re just sketches of characters. A few failed subplots and a stock liberal character later, Grace devolves into a callous game of “Will they or won’t they find out?” It’s strange that a film whose young characters are told to question the media should rely on its score to dictate how you’ll feel. There’s no catharsis here, just soft piano keys. 85 Minutes | Kendall Square
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