Grace is Gone

Very, very funny. I was surprised; the plot centers on a sad-sack Stanley (John Cusack, shoulders appropriately slumped throughout) with two daughters and a soldier-in-Iraq wife. Wife dies, husband frets over what to do, unsure how to break the news to his kids let alone how to grapple with his own grief and shame, and decides to take the kids to Enchanted Gardens. It’s like National Lampoon’s Mourning Vacation. Or maybe Little Miss Cloud Cover.

Okay, I kid. This movie made me cry, from sheer boredom. I should be polite, because intentions are so pure, so noble, so right-minded. But good lord what a drain. Call me insensitive (and if you do I’ll cry again), but Grace couldn’t be goned quickly enough for me. As Kris pointed out to me while watching, the whole film is one big long interrogation of Stanley’s inability to surface his emotions, and when we finally get the grief money-shot, the big moment of revelation and mourning with the daughters, the hammer-to-the-forehead-soulful soundtrack kicks up and we see the actors pantomime the scene — the moment of disclosure is literally repressed. I would love to see that as irony, but I doubt it.