“In a 1950s-era Missouri town, the life of a couple is thrown into chaos when the husband’s sister is released from the local asylum and comes to live with the family.”
Ten year old Carrie serves as the audience’s liaison into the story of “Saving Grace B. Jones”, after being sent to live with a friend’s family after witnessing a stabbing. Serving as the audience’s liaison would work, if Carrie was available to see everything that is revealed in the film, but of course, she is just a child, and doesn’t see all of the happenings throughout the film, but yet the audience does. The script is structured similarly to a child’s mind, jumping from scene to scene, with not all of the scenes connecting. This ultimately leaves the audience confused as to who is supposed to carry the film, and what exactly is going on.
Landry Bretthorst (played by an enigmatic Michael Biehn) heads the majority of the film up, embarking on a journey with his daughter and her friend, Carrie, to pick up his sister, Grace (played by Tatum O’Neal) from an asylum where she had been locked up for several years for an unknown (and un-discussed) reason. The relationship between the brother and sister is a strong one, but is only highlighted in a few sporadic conversations between the two. As they return home to a town wide homecoming, it is clear that Grace will be made into an outcast by the neighbors, but not her own family, as no one knows how to behave around or with her. Grace has her own adjusting to do, especially with the realization that her ex-husband (played by Joel Gretsch) has settled down with a new wife who is expecting. Moments where she is alone show her plagued by her inner demons, and as a storm draws near and threatens to flood the inner Missouri town, her demons seem to pick up speed.
Many unnecessary plotlines and ideas are thrown in the script, detracting from the tension within the Bretthorst family and taking away the attention from the film’s namesake, Grace. The plotline of following one of the young girls getting asked to attend a military dance seems to take even more attention that Grace’s insomnia and her dancing around the living room to the music in her head. Time doesn’t flow in this film, as the story is supposed to take place over one summer, but weeks are skipped and then a single night takes up twenty minutes of the film. While the acting of the adults seems to flow, the children serve as a distracting aspect for the film in general, with overacting moments sticking out.
Would I watch this film again? No. I applaud director Connie Stevens for her efforts, but this is definitely a film that should not be labeled as a thriller film, and belongs in a catalog of Lifetime or Hallmark channel styled films.
“Saving Grace B. Jones” is available now on VOD and in select markets. More information can be found on the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saving-Grace-B-Jones/559723440711910