Grace Is Gone (2007) is a movie about Stanley Philipps (played by John Cusack), a father of two young daughters who works in a home improvement store and doesn’t have a particularly spectacular life. One gets the feeling that he plods along, from one day to the next, a little disconnected from his surroundings, missing his wife, and unable to really communicate with or relate to his daughters.
The 12-year-old Heidi (Shelan O’Keefe) is serious and a bit withdrawn, trying to cope with the absence of her bubbly and affectionate mother by adopting a mothering role towards her 8-year-old sister Amber (Grace Bednarczyk) who is a delightful embodiment of youthful exuberance and joy.
Stanley stays at home to look after the girls while their mother, a soldier by the name of Grace, is serving a stint in Iraq. When he is advised at the start of the movie that she has died in action, he is so shocked that he cannot deal with the loss. Nor can he bring himself to tell his children.
So, displaying uncharacteristic spontaneity and to buy himself time, he takes them on a cross-country trip to an amusement park in Florida called “Enchanted Gardens”. Forced to spend time together with his daughters in the car as they drive across America over a couple of days, he realises that he doesn’t really know how to relate to them. But they have started to figure things out by the time they finally reach their destination. After spending an entire day exploring the park and enjoying themselves, it is only when they set off on the return journey that Stanley can bring himself to give them the sad news.
This was such a beautiful, sad movie. Loved it.
Two nice reviews:
Other movies we’ve watched in June: