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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
This really is an exceptional, emotional and moving film., 11 November 2004

This really is an exceptional, emotional and moving film.

'See Grace Fly', is probably one of the best, if not 'the' best films I've seen this year and definitely on my list of all time favorites. It's a thought provoking, emotional roller-coaster that deals with two very risky subjects, mental health and religion. In regards to the latter, the story focuses more on the issue of 'faith', as well as human relationships and the classic issues of life, death, sex and friendship.

The plot is loosely based on lead actress, Gina Chiarelli's experiences of her schizophrenic aunt, obviously an experience that touched Gina deeply because her portray of 'Grace' is absolutely driven. Paul McGillion is also stunning as 'Dominic', Grace's haunted missionary brother, torn between his love for his sister and running away from the anguish of knowing 'all the love in the world' can't help her.

Despite its low budget the movie is exceptionally well made. The use of hand held camera work adds to the grit and pace, polished smooth camera moves would have taken away some of that atmosphere. The lighting in a few scenes is sometimes stark, showing a little of its low budget, but it's a very tiny fault outweighed by excellent directing, editing and a wonderful score as well as superb acting all round from its leads and support cast.

There are a number of stunning sequences and what I can only describe as 'original' scenes, one of those being a sex scene. On the surface it's amusing and a little embarrassing. Look a little deeper and its very interesting that Dom (especially considering something alluded to from his childhood) is not only seeking comfort in sex, but comes (quite literally) to a revelation regarding his sisters ravings, questioning his own faith and beliefs.

They intermix those 'scenes' with Grace wrapping herself in her own misery and the torment of her mind. To me in their own way the siblings are both seeking comfort, Grace surrendering herself to her schizophrenic psychosis, slipping further into her unhinged religious ravings, while Dom does the complete opposite, closing out the disturbing confusion of his thoughts for the comfort of another's touch and the oblivion of sex.

It's just this film all over, quirky moments of dark sometimes farcical humour mixed with emotionally heart-wrenching drama. Dom's (Paul) confession in the bathroom to Kate (Jennifer Copping) is quite disturbing in its eluded to subject (although nothing is said blatantly). It stands out to me as one of Paul's best from the movie, let's just say the actor can cry very convincingly and put a lump in your throat and when it comes to this scene, his face and eyes portray Dom's torment as much, if not more then the dialogue. There is another scene in a playground, where Dom's seems to give in to the inevitable convictions of his sisters intentions to 'fly'. The line 'go to hell or go to 'heaven', just be free' is said with tangible emotion and his body language more then anything screams heartbreaking anguish and defeat.

I couldn't pick out a scene for Gina because this is without a doubt, one of the most driven, talented and stunning performances from any actress I have ever seen. She is utterly convincing as a schizophrenic women hanging by a thread to sanity in every single scene. Other favourite moments are the way Dom's memories of his and Grace's childhood are visualised; it's nothing exceptionally original but the way its done really works well and helps create a gut tightening and disturbing atmosphere.

I have to say though, one of the best aspects of this movie is you never quite know if what Grace is saying is the product of an unhinged mind clinging to religious beliefs almost like a drowning man to a piece of drift wood, or something more sinister. Oh and it has one of those endings that will...well that would be spoiling it wouldn't it.