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Grace (2009)

Reviewed on 2011 June 29

Completely sick and warped film about a mother’s determination to carry her baby to term. The plot revolves around the question: A baby what?

Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd) and her husband Michael (Stephen Park) are a married couple plagued by past miscarriages and Madeline’s interfering mother-in-law, Vivian (Gabrielle Rose). The opening of the movie telegraphs how little else is important to them at this point except conceiving a baby and carrying it to term. We see right away Vivian doesn’t care for her daughter-in-law; I doubt the old goat would have thought anyone was good enough for her precious little boy, but she has a special pet grudge against Madeline for being a vegan and choosing a midwife instead of going with their family doctor. Madeline does seem to be a little screwy from the get-go, not because she eats organic veggie fare but just because she seems kind of spacey and is addicted to watching loops of sad stuff on the Animal Channel while she cooks up her Tofu-O’s.

It looks like this pregnancy will make it to term, until tragedy strikes and Madeline is told her baby is dead. Madeline opts to carry the child to term anyway, giving birth to an apparently still-born baby. She somehow wills her back to life. Uh huh. She tells the astonished delivery team that the baby’s name is Grace, triumphantly taking her home. Madeline soon realizes that she’s in over her head: Grace is no ordinary baby, and won’t feed on either mother’s milk or (when she’s older) Gerber stuff. Guess what li’l Gracie needs!

I have to give writer/director Paul Solet grudging admiration for the fact that even in my college days, neurons squeeing from the combined effects of too little sleep and too much caffeine, I couldn’t come up with something this insane. It’s a very cold movie, with the kindest thing you can say about any of the characters is “well, maybe this one isn’t as screwed up as the others.” (Hint: yeah, they are.) All of them have outright psychological kinks, which doesn’t harm the movie at all, but does make it even funnier if you describe it to a friend, spoilers and all, and Ladd did a good job as the wonky Madeline. It does serve one other purpose too. A friend I love very much is an extremely cool vegetarian, who can tell you where to get the finest veggie fare if you’re craving it but won’t care at all if you order a bacon cheeseburger. Since based on some things I’ve read the screechy self-righteous type of vegans — you know, the ones that act like you’re an axe murderer if you want to wear leather shoes — seem to take this as some sort of slam, it might be a lot of fun to screen this DVD if you’re ever stuck with one of ’em.

One chocolate morsel, because it is unique. If you want something off-beat and better paced, stick with the first Ginger Snaps.



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