DRAMA; 1hr 25min
STARRING: John Cusack, Shélan O’Keefe, Gracie Bednarczyck
Left behind: from left, O’Keefe, Bednarczyck and Cusack
As he ages, John Cusack seems to be growing into himself, his woebegone looks deepening into something more indelible. In Grace Is Gone, Cusack is Stanley Phillips, a nondescript US Midwest hardware-store manager who can’t bear to tell his two daughters (O’Keefe and Bednarczyck as 12-year-old Heidi and eight-year-old Dawn) that his wife, their mother Grace, has been killed while serving in Iraq.
As if to outrun his grief, Stanley takes the girls on a road trip. En route to a Florida amusement park, the three visit with his brother Joe (Alessandro Nivola), whose liberal beliefs fall at the opposite end of the spectrum from the fiercely patriotic Stanley’s. The trip is supposed to be a lark, although with Stanley so eaten up by exhausted sorrow, the true-to-life performances play out as trial by freeway.
While plainly impassioned, Grace takes no stance on war, the brothers representing each side of the polemic. Its perilous territory is the cold brutality of irreparable loss and the courage it takes to go on alone.