John Cusack stars in a movie that appeals right to his female fan base, the family drama Grace is Gone. Neither particularly bad nor memorable, Grace is Gone features a fine performance by Cusack and a cutesy story, and at least exceeds low expectations.
Stanley Philipps (Cusack) is a father of two who's married to a soldier stationed in Baghdad. A man unquestionably dedicated to his country, Stanley accepts the reasons why the U.S. is in Iraq blindly and in fact wishes he were over there himself. But when he learns that his wife has been killed, his life is placed into disarray. Unable to accept the truth himself, he decides to keep his two girls in the dark and do something entirely out of character himself - go on a road trip to a Florida theme park. As their adventure continues, he begins to realize just how out of touch he's been with his girls.
I wasn't expecting much from Grace is Gone. The movie looked incredibly boring and standard, with little in the way of dramatic power or entertainment value. Thankfully, Grace is Gone isn't at all boring, though it is quintessentially standard. This is one of those movies where you won't miss much if you never see it, but if you do, it won't leave much of an impression. The film, written and directed by James Strouse, coasts along at a reasonable clip and offers some good scenes, but there's nothing here that stands out in any way or form. While different from most of Cusack's films in some ways, the movie is like many of the actors' others: decent, but forgettable.
Cusack himself delivers a fine performance, and as one might expect is the main draw for the film. I've always liked Cusack but have rarely loved his films, and Grace is Gone is no different. The actor shows more range than usual here, though I wouldn't say it's an award-winning performance. The two girls do well in their respective roles.
Grace is Gone is surprisingly decent, but unless you're a big Cusack fan, I wouldn't go out of my way.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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