A dramatization of the shocking Barbara Daly Baekeland murder case, which happened in a posh London flat on Friday 17 November 1972. The bloody crime caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic and remains one of the most memorable American Tragedies...
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
The true story of the beautiful and charismatic Barbara Daly, who married above her class to Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Their only child is a failure in his father's eyes, and as he matures and becomes increasingly close to his lonely mother, the seeds for tragedy are sown. Written by
When Barbara and Tony are first shown walking through the park in Paris, they pass a little girl and a young woman walks into frame towards them. In the next shot, the little girl is in a different position and the young woman is nowhere to be found. See more »
"Ain't Nobody Home"
Written by Jerry Ragovoy
Performed by Howard Tate
Published by Chappell & Co. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more »
Loosely based on the book of the same name by Natalie Robins and Steven M.L. Aronson, Tom Kalin's Savage Grace is the stylized depiction of the life of Barbara Daly Baekeland (Julianne Moore), a social-climbing model and would-be actress who married into the Bakelite fortune and whose overbearing love for her son Tony, a promising writer, led to unspeakable tragedy. Savage Grace first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 and had a limited release in the U.S. in May 2008 to less than enthusiastic reviews. The film has been described as dull by some critics used to bathing in showy Hollywood effects, overlooking the fact that its languid air and dreamy look serve a distinct purpose
to underscore the characters' emotional emptiness and enhance its
understated cumulative power.
Savage Grace opens in New York in 1946 with the birth of a son and unfolds like a classical tragedy in six episodes that cover four decades from 1946 to 1972, tracking Barbara's crumbling relationship with husband Brooks (Stephen Dillane) and her increasingly unhealthy relationship with her son Tony, played as a boy by Barney Clark and as an adult by the excellent Eddie Redmayne. The family, heirs to the fortune amassed by their grandfather Leo who was the inventor of Bakelite, the original plastic, eats at the famous Stork Club, dining with princes and other royalty and socializing with people such as Greta Garbo, Tennessee Williams, and the Aga Khan. In the restaurant, they play careless games such as Barbara asking her guests to bet on her just going off with the first man that comes along in a car," which she does, leaving her husband and friends on the sidewalk.
The film then jumps to Paris in 1959. In one of the most explosive scenes, Barbara compels Tony, now age 13, to read aloud from the book "Justine" by the Marquis de Sade at a dinner party. When he is reluctant, Barbara goes into a rage, using graphic epithets that drive her visitors from the house. London, Spain, and Mallorca follow soon as the Baekeland's become permanent exiles from the U.S. In Cadaques on Spain's Costa Brava eight years later, Tony begins to come to grips with his homosexuality and enjoys an affair with Jake (Unax Ugalde), at times the two performing their sexual acts in front of "mummy". Later he brings home a girlfriend Blanca (Elena Anaya), which surprises his parents since his homosexuality has become obvious.
Coldly rejecting both Barbara and Tony, Brooks runs off with Blanca and never looks back, resisting his son's futile efforts to reunite them. In a startling confrontation, Barbara follows her husband to the airport where she unleashes a brutal verbal attack on both husband and girlfriend at the checkout counter. Both Barbara's and Tony's emotional stability soon begin to unravel. Barbara takes up with the bisexual Sam (Hugh Dancy) and, when Tony also finds himself attracted to Sam, all three end up in bed in one of the film's more eyebrow-raising scenes. Back in London, years later, after one of numerous suicide attempts, Barbara casually initiates a sexual relationship with her increasing emotionally unstable son leading to the boy's quiet descent into madness and the film's tragic conclusion.
Like Jean-Claude Lauzon's 1992 masterpiece, Leolo, Savage Grace is a mixture of darkness and light that contains moments of humor and warmth along with moments of sheer depravity. Its power is very real because the characters are recognizable as suffering human beings rather than as caricatures. While the appeal of Savage Grace is limited because of its dark subject matter, it is a mesmerizing and powerful experience, impeccably acted by Julianne Moore in one of her greatest performances. While the film's depictions of forbidden sexual activities may or may not have occurred in reality, they are powerfully communicated without melodrama and the film's morbid fascination is maintained until its shocking conclusion.
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