|Index||5 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nearing Grace is about as close to stereotypical and predictable as you
can get. Boy loses mother, boy has alcoholic despondent father, boy
meets wild, crazy girl, falls in love, wild affair learns about
life...grows up. There it is...you just watched Nearing Grace only I
saved you the boredom of watching it happen. Not that this story can't
be turned into something good because with a decent writer, director
and cast anything...even the most stereotypical of stories and genres
can be made fresh and new and interesting but Nearing Grace doesn't
even try. It says here is the recipe, don't stray from it, don't try
anything new...slap it together and throw it out there and that's
exactly what they do. Long time TV Director Rick Rosenthal isn't used
to making something longer than 45 minutes and isn't used to the fact
that we need to know about these characters in the run time of a film
because they won't be back next week to give us more. He made the same
mistake in helming the disastrous last installment of the Halloween
franchise. Empty characters, short boring plot, and no depth and that
is exactly what we see here with Nearing Grace. Two twenty four year
olds and a twenty seven year old play the lead High School seniors in
the film...this isn't 90210 Rick.
I think Gregory Smith is probably a good actor. He comes from doing Television (Everwood) and is probably looking for something off the beaten path to make people notice him but to do that he'll need something with range and he couldn't have gotten any more vapid and empty than the character he plays, Henry Nearing. He has no characteristics, no depth, no good dialog and I don't blame that on Smith other than he should have read the script better. Ashley Johnson is decent enough, and probably has more depth than most of the other characters combined as the next door neighbor best friend of Henry. Johnson is at least still baby faced enough to pull off the High School look but her and Smith have zero chemistry as soul mates and best friends. David Morse is a hell of an actor. He has had some amazing roles and done some terrific work and somehow they shoved him into this emotionless dull portrait of a grieving man (having lost his wife) turned to alcohol and looks like a hippie. They should have left the story and character building to his character because if anyone in this cast could have pulled it off it would have been Morse but he falls flat with this script. And finally we come to the lovely Jordana Brewster. The girl is sexy, there is no doubt about it, but that doesn't even come close to carrying a film. Her wild and crazy portrayal of the object of Henry's affections, Grace Chance, is not even close to what it should be. She looks so much older than she should be (which she is,) they give no explanation as to her characters flaws or reasoning, only that she appears to be a skank who wants to seduce Henry for no particular reason. Brewster and Smith actually do have decent chemistry and there are some steamy love scenes and a cute little "our clothes are gone let's run through the streets" scene but you just don't give a lick about their characters or what happens to them and you feel yourself begging to know more.
So many characters, so much potential to explain them all and yet never happens. You never get to care or find out any information but rather just watch Henry have this steamy little fling and then somehow learn from it and graduate. It's a bore-fest plain and simple. I don't know who to blame but I think it's mostly to rest on the shoulders of the writers and the director because they tried to create something that at best might be an "R" rated episode of Dawson's Creek but even that was far more entertaining than Nearing Grace could ever be (witty title by the way.) Steer clear of this indie film because it has Brad Renfro and Dominique Swain written all over it and if you know what I mean by that you'll know how bad this really is. 3/10
After I saw this film, it left me scratching my head for a few reasons. At first, I thought it was a movie about college, since all the actors were so old and just walked in and out of classrooms at their leisure, but then I was stunned that they were suppose to be high school age. They are all obviously in their twenties and looked ridiculous as teenagers...it's like casting white people to play blacks in a movie, just as out of place and ridiculous. Next, the movie plays on it's vagueness, we don't understand the motivations behind any of these characters and the dialogue comes off as contrived and phony. Finally, for a film that was supposed to be set in the seventies, it truly fails to capture any feel for that era, it seems more modern than anything in dialogue and appearance. Not a movie that you will hate, but bland and vague enough to leave an empty feeling in your gut after viewing.
Enjoyable coming-of-age tale, set in 1979, is reminiscent of Hughes' pre-HOME ALONE efforts. A high school senior (Greg Smith) is in shock after his mom's death and begins disengaging from life. His dad (David Morse, sporting a beard and long, scraggly hair) is a hopeless doper and his brother is a chip off the old block. The only thing that keeps him from falling off the face of the earth are the women in his life: childhood pal Merna (Ashley Johnson) and the alluring and slightly crazy Grace Chance (Jordana Brewster). Based on a novel, NEARING GRACE works about half the time. It is far too predictable for anyone who has ever seen a John Hughes flick. Worth a watch, however, for Smith, who is a terrific young actor. Brewster has several semi-nude scenes, but her bony body doesn't match her beautiful face.
I really enjoyed this film! Its a great indie drama and I would definitely watch this film again. The story is a great coming of age story set in the 70's. I really loved the characters, especially Gregory Smith's character, Henry. I have been waiting for a breakthrough performance from him and this was it! His character deals with everything from family issues, regarding his brother and his father (David Morse); to girl problems, involving his crush (Jordana Brewster) and his best friend. This was definitely a job well done by Ashley Johnson, who plays Henry's best friend. Its got drama and it has its funny moments too.
I saw this movie this weekend here in New York, and I had really high hopes for it. Maybe that's where things first went wrong. This was a good idea for a story, heck, it's been done before. But this kind of coming of age story can usually be redone and retold in a rewarding way with the right script and cast. I think my main problem isn't that I hated this movie - I didn't feel one way or another about it. I didn't understand why the characters were the way they were. I wanted to know more about Grace - okay, maybe she was supposed to be mysterious but that didn't come across on screen...I was interested in why she was the way she was about guys, her stance on love, etc. As for the protagonist, i don't think it was the fault of the actor, but the he was just annoying and not sympathetic at all.
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