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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2000!
SAVING GRACE, 2000
Cast: Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson, Martin Clunes,Tchťky Karyo, Jamie Foreman, Bill Bailey, Valerie Edmond
A widow discovers after her husband's suicide that he has mortgaged everything they own and the banks are ready to foreclose. Faced with impending doom and little working knowledge except her ability to grow plants, she struggles to save her home.
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With Saving Grace (dir. Nigel Cole) winning the Audience Award at 2000s Sundance Film Festival, it managed to do better than originally expected for a low-budget British film that was out when Gladiator (dir. Ridley Scott) was conquering the industry. Itís a nice little feel good film that tries to do something a bit different in comparison to other feel good films that most people would already liked.
The story of the film is about widow flower expert Grace Trevethyn (Brenda Blethyn) whose husband died after jumping out of a plane without his parachute. To make matters worse, heís left Grace with a very deep debt that she canít really afford. Her bad gardener Matthew Stewart (Craig Ferguson) has a plant that needs her help and she soon realises that itís a hash plant.
What soon appears as a helpful gesture soon grows into an idea for Matthew and Grace to grow and sell the drugs in her greenhouse in order for her to pay off her debt. The pair are now hiding their secret away from the locals of their small town and trying to get rid of the drugs to receive the money they need to pay the debt with then follows in a traditional feel good way.
One of the biggest reasons why the film received as many awards as it did was because of the leading lady of the film and her nice performance as a middle-aged woman.
Brenda Blethyn, who plays Grace, is usually seen playing the secondary characters in numerous film and television shows and so itís great to see her play in the leading role for a film that got quite a big recognition at the time. Her character is usually in situations where she doesnít face obstacles that are too fearful or challenging and so her acting is only used for happy or sad emotions. But this is usually the type of roles she plays and so this role is nothing new on her list of performances. But her acting does bring in enough charm that you really care about what happens to the character.
The actor who played Matthew, who was Craig Ferguson, also did a good job in playing a man who doesnít seem to have a lot of sense on responsibility. His character was quite simple as well, but that is the type of film where itís ordinary characters in an unusual situation and has to deal with it. But his performance was quite interesting to watch as well, because he is usually seen with other characters that have a more sensible manner that makes him seem to shine out when heís amongst them, especially with the character of Grace.
With the screenplay written by Nigel Cole and Craig Ferguson, itís interesting how the film is structured since the pacing of the film was fine, but the obstacles didnít match well with the feel of the film.
The first half of the film sets up the scene of the story and the characters very well and even manages to add more characters near the halfway point in the narrative without over doing it. Itís also good to see how the theme of drugs is treated without making a big statement and brings in a person who wouldnít appear to be interested in this sort of thing. The characters are also very interesting to watch since they appear as ordinary people and how the young people in the film particularly use the drugs that they terribly grow.
Unfortunately, the film had the same problems as Looking for Eric (dir. Ken Loach), which was that the first half carried an interesting idea, but turned into a different film in the second half. What I didnít like about Saving Grace in the second half was that the characters went into areas and people who seemed to be completely from a surreal and artistic film, which ruined the lovely drama-comedy routine that was going on. For example, when they meet up with drug dealer Vince (Bill Bailey), he is a very stereotypical and laidback character that doesnít seem to be a convincing drug dealer and wouldnít be the sort of character that Grace would talk to.
Saving Grace may have been a great film when it was released, but it isnít as good now. Iím not saying that the film is bad, but at the same time itís not great as well and is a film to see if you liked Looking for Eric.