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Rock singer John Mellencamp makes his screen and directorial debut in this story by "Lonesome Dove" author, Larry McMurtry. The story, not too separated from Mellencamp's real life, finds him as a country music star whose meanderings and philandering has thrown his life into turmoil. Returning to his native Indiana to try to reestablish a normal life. Instead he takes up with an old lover (Lenz), ignoring his loving wife (Hemingway), and duplicating the lifestyle of his womanizing father (Akins). Written by
John Sacksteder <Jsack@ka.net>
That's what "Falling from Grace" (1992) is about. John (Cougar) Mellencamp plays a country star who tries to come home to Indiana, bringing his tall blond wife (Mariel Hemingway) and daughter. Unfortunately, his dad's a total jerk (Claude Akins) and his high school sweetheart (Kay Lenz) is married to his brother and having an affair with someone linked to both. It seems like the star just wants to take a break from the show business and hang with his buds, like the old days, but melancholy settles in and temptation strikes.
Wow, after seeing this my wife and I gave thanks for our dysfunctional families -- we never knew we had it so good!
This is a solid drama by first-and-only-time director Mellencamp. All the main players noted above do fine in their roles, but some of the side players are flat and unconvincing.
The film was shot in Seymour, Indiana, John's hometown, and runs 100 minutes.
FINAL WORD: Although I rate the film slightly higher than average, noted critic Roger Ebert gives it his top rating, just to give you some perspective. IMHO the film is dragged down by the country star's mopiness, which is fundamental to the story -- I understand -- but it's still frustrating for the viewer. Yet I like the note it ends on and there are definitely some gems to mine from the proceedings, like "the sins of the father" and the negative domino effect of unfaithfulness.
GRADE: C+ or B-
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