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...
The true story of the beautiful and charismatic but mentally unstable 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 alienated mother, the seeds for tragedy are sown.Written by
None of these rich, idle people induce much empathy. Self-absorbed and shallow, the father Brooks (Stephen Dillane), the son Antony (Eddie Redmayne), and the mother Barbara (Julianne Moore) go about their lives with nary a care in the world. Yet, they manage to inflict unhappiness on each other in ways that test the limits of family love.
Complex human relationships with a tendency toward destructive behavior form the premise of "Savage Grace", a true-life story of the Baekeland family, heir to the Bakelite plastic fortune. The film's plot begins in 1946 when Antony is a baby. The plot ends with the shocking climax, in 1972.
Curiously aloof and standoffish, the film suffers from an unfortunate structure. Snippets of their family life allow us to peek in at odd moments between 1946 and 1972. We see them as they jet-set their way through Spain, Italy, and France, and hobnob with the rich and famous. At one point, Barbara, a socialite and former model, concedes a sense of apathy and boredom. "To say that one is tired of Paris is in fact to say that one is tired of life".
But because the plot spans 26 years, viewers must fill in the story gaps as best they can. Though I'm not one for lots of exposition, some added dialogue could have helped the narrative to flow better. As is, the story comes across as disjointed and at times confusing. Viewers must exercise patience to see where this slow, meandering story is leading.
The film's technical elements, including acting, are fine. The main problem is the script, and in particular the plot structure. Still, the film instructs us on how life can disintegrate for people with too much time on their hands and no sense of responsibility. That money can't buy happiness may be a cliché, but this story affirms it, at least for one very dysfunctional family that thought that it could.
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