Gracie's Choice (TV Movie 2004) Poster

(2004 TV Movie)

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10/10
Wow! What an inspirational story!
StephanieGould18 January 2004
I first saw this movie on the Lifetime Television network after hearing some good reviews and seeing previews. The plot follows Gracie(Kristen Bell), a 17 year old girl who deals with trying to keep her brothers from being taken away from her and put into foster homes due to her drug-addicted and often absent mother Rowena(Anne Heche). With stunning performances from both Bell and Heche as the daughter and mother duo the film has real edge. With the supporting cast including Diane Ladd, this television movie surpasses the stereotypes of a typical movie-of-the-week. I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to be inspired by a true story set to the screen.
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Wonderful
jay_sam_split23 January 2004
I thought this was the best movie Lifetime has made in quite awhile. I was glued to the TV the whole time it was one. It is such a heart warming and true story. It touched my heart. Kristen Bell did a wonderful job. She brought a lot of emotion to the role. I felt for the family it involved and was so happy with it's conclusion.
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9/10
Kristen Bell hits a home run!
Pro Jury21 January 2004
Gracie (Kristen Bell) is not your average 16-year-old girl. For as long as Gracie can remember, she has been raising her four siblings, each of whom has a different, absent father. Gracie's mother (Anne Heche) seems to be on the fast track to self-destruction, while Gracie's well-meaning grandma (Diane Ladd) is too old and frail to provide a stable home. When the children's lives are about to be pulled apart, Gracie will have to do the impossible and make great sacrifices to keep her siblings together.

Kristen Bell's performance is the main reason to invest two hours watching "GRACIE'S CHOICE." Bell is in most every single scene of the film and she plays her dysfunctional part with all-American charm. Bell appears poised for great success in Hollywood.

Produced by the LIFETIME CHANNEL, "GRACIE'S CHOICE" is a watchable made-for-TV drama inspired by actual events. Keep your ears peeled for the original song "I Belong" performed by Cherie exclusive to this film.
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10/10
A wonderful movie!
RayRob8223 February 2005
I'm not usually one for daytime movies or the type to watch the Hallmark Channel (in the UK) but while channel hopping, I saw a trailer for this movie. What captured me was the fact that it was based on a true story, particularly based on a Readers Digest article (which I would love to read).

I made a point to watch this movie and I'm very glad that I did! From the very beginning as a viewer I could see a glimpse of the type of life-style that the family led. I instantly empathised (if that's the correct word) with the lead character of Gracie, played extremely well by Kirsten Bell! I don't want to give too much away, but this is a truly remarkable, heroic and self-sacrificing movie about a young girl who bares the weight of her family out of pure love. I am amazed how such a gem of a movie was made specifically for TV.

Wonderful! 10*
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8/10
Very touching an compelling movie
evaca6 March 2005
Every now an again Lifetime has a movie which is not just a "tearjerker" or "chickflick" but a good story. "Gracie's Choice" was a very well written, acted and as a result a very compelling film. It was very moving and the viewer cannot help but wonder what will become of this family. Being a film on Lifetime will probably keep this film from finding all the audience who would appreciate it. But anyone interested should look for this movie on DVD because it was quite good. Kristen Bell,the actress who portrayed Gracie was excellent and will surely have a successful career. Keep your eyes out for her, her TV show Veronica Mars is quite good. Anne Heche was excellent as the drug-addicted mother. The viewer really begins to care about this family and hopes that they will stay together. Of course being a true story, "Gracie's Choice" is meant to inspire, and it does.
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9/10
Some people shouldn't be parenting ...
StevenPlaymountain3 September 2005
It's not because you claim you love your children, you actually love them. This is the premise for Gracie's Choice. How the person that gave birth to you betrays you, makes your life miserable, this is what this movie is about, and how to overcome all that. This movie is based on facts. Meet Gracie, a 17 year old girl (played by the adorable Kristen Bell) who sacrifices her own life to make sure her brothers are safe and sound. Her drug addict mother (played by the wonderful Anne Heche) changes boyfriends like underwear, and makes her children put up with it by dishing them fairy tale stories about horses and tasty meals. All and all, the mother is just a ghostly projection, a tantalizing dream, an empty promise. She doesn't love her kids, although she doesn't realize this herself.But the movie reveals this in a dramatic way. The mother yells Gracie can go to hell. Gracie responds fittingly: "I was born in hell." Gracie's hell is her mum messing things up, her redemption is her will to take care of her family, despite her own ambitions. In a way Gracie is too good for this world. She sacrifices herself for her little (half)brothers. The casting of Kristen Bell for the role of role model Gracie Thompson was an excellent choice.

The first time I saw Kristen Bell was in the Emmy winning TV-show The Shield. In this movie, Bells character ís The Shield.
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Excellent, but puzzling at times
Sheldon Berger27 December 2004
This movie actually kept my wife awake! It was an excellent story and you just have to admire Gracie for her determination. She would be someone I would like to meet. The acting was extremely good, especially Anne Heche. She should be nominated for some kind of award for her performance,scary at times. Diane Ladd, great, as always, and Kristen Bell was reasonably convincing. I was a bit puzzled about the romantic relationship that Gracie had in the story. It should have had more substance to it. At first the boyfriend was completely understanding of Gracie's plight, and in an instant he reversed his feelings. I couldn't understand the meaning of the robbery/shooting scene involving Gracie and the children either. No matter, overall a must see.
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An incredible movie!!!!
kwinka27 December 2004
I found this movie so touching that I named my daughter Gracie. I hope that my daughter is as strong as this movie portrays Gracie. It was a very emotional movie, but it really made you acknowledge the turmoil that goes on in our own country. There are a lot of children that are probably raising their siblings or at least highly contributing to their raising. It is very sad when this is a result of the abuse and neglect that occurs. If you enjoy true stories, and aren't afraid to shed some tears, this is an incredible movie with a very true, yet very emotional story line. If I was asked to rate this movie on a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 21! I very highly recommend this movie!!!
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10/10
Very inspiring movie
Angelgirl7817 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
May contain spoilers. Grace's Choice is one of the most inspiring movies I've seen. A true story of a teenager who takes on the responsibility of raising her 3 brothers due to their drunken mother's absence. She changes her life and gives up a lot to care for her brothers, keep them together and create a stable, loving home.In the process, through very hard times she manages to work full-time and finish school. I recommend this movie to everyone, it is well worth your time, it shows people anything is possible if you put your heart in it. It is a little bit of a chick flick, but very much worth watching. I give this movie 10/10.
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10/10
Great Movie
utbandit18 January 2005
Insipring great movie. Don't be fooled because its from lifetime. Great movie. This coming from a straight 24 year old male. This movie is about one woman's life story and the ups and downs of a life without the best of starts. A girl raised with all the wrong cards rises above it all and makes her own hand of cards for the game of life. This is one story that brings tears (not for me), joy, and inspiration. This movie is really sad in the fact that this is a true story. However, it helps me to know that in real life someone was faced this awful situation and still overcame it with hard work and determination. This movie is from everyone except for small children who can't handle some of the themes of family violence and drugs.
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An exceptional production
blueboot7 March 2005
It is probably true that in the U.K. practically no-one will have heard of "Gracie's Choice". However in time, that situation will surely change. A good movie is a good movie, and this one is exceptionally acted, scripted, produced and directed.

It's also pleasant to find that the director Peter Werner (who is new to me) treats his audience with the utmost intelligence, crafting this incredible true story into an unforgettable experience. It's probably impossible for any emotionally well-adjusted person to fail to empathise with the main character's plight. Kristen Bell, who holds the screen beautifully throughout, plays the eldest sibling Gracie in a large dysfunctional family. Responsibility for her half-siblings falls at an early age upon her shoulders. Gracie's mother Rowena (Anne Heche) is self-abusive, a druggie, probably alcoholic, and a neurotic nightmare. Any money that comes into their home needed for the children disappears on Rowena's indulgences, while her children are severely neglected. A succession of men (uncle's) enter and stay with Rowena, some of whom are in turn abusive to her, and also to young Gracie. Rowena moves from one chaotic relationship to the next.

Gracie's world becomes a long unrelenting nightmare, yet she provides the only strand of strength and determination that keep the young family together. Time passes and her awareness of Rowena's life-style and inability to cope with the children leads to irreparable damage and irreconcilable differences between daughter and mother. Having built that platform Peter Werner then leads the film along a new path, where the captivating Gracie gradually attempts to build a new life for them all. Without giving the game away this painful quest eventually comes at a price.

2004 has been a good year for film-goers. This wonderful film deserves to be up there alongside the likes of Million Dollar Baby. But one wonders whether film critics write-off new films without seeing them. In Britain, the influential Radio Times meanly awards this film two stars (out of 5). Impossible - it's doubtful they have ever seen this! For without a shadow of doubt "Gracie's Choice" merits nothing less than 10 out 10. And happily for film buffs, Kristen Bell is destined for a long acting career at the very top.
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10/10
Reality for me.
normanlk9916 April 2006
This movie, "Gracie's Choice," is perhaps too close to home for me. This movie inspires me to do what she has done. The only difference is, I am not wanting to adopt my siblings, I am wanting to adopt my son. Previously, the courts were not in favor of me, despite my efforts. And, I had lost hope of ever adopting my son from his mother. But, now, I hope to. I had always been concerned about my upbringing/childhood, but perhaps I will be able to overcome it and make some progress with my family. Allow me to share one of my quotes that I find inspirational: "It is within you. When it is time, it will happen." Norman from Omaha, NE.
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9/10
Based on a true story...
MarieGabrielle18 June 2006
"Gracie's Choice" is an excellent made for TV movie about the uphill battle of one child to preserve her family, despite social workers, an ex-convict for a mother (well played by Anne Heche) and a system that offered her little help.

At first, one may think this to be the usual run-of-the mill feel good movie; against foster parents, depicting the dysfunctional family in America. Not so; it is a hopeful story which Kristen Bell, (as Gracie) must care for her half- brothers and sisters (they are all illegitimate) before she even graduates high school.

The story is initially sad, showing Heche as an irresponsible, possibly disturbed woman. She has many children, does not know who their fathers are, and manipulates her elderly mother (Diane Ladd) into supporting all of them- she basically collects welfare support for each child and squanders it.

As Gracie matures, she sees her mother for what she truly is, and decides she must adopt the younger children. Her sister becomes pregnant at 16 to escape the situation, and goes off to live with a different boyfriend. Gracie emerges stronger, with the help of social services and her counselor she finds an apartment, a job, and attends school and graduates as well.

Overall, this is a good film, because it accurately depicts a true story, the reasons kids have children prematurely, and the ultimate responsibility it is of the parent (in this case, negligent Anne Heche), for the kids turning to out the way they do.
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9/10
Nice movie!
demoiselle_plastik5 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The only thing that bothered me in the beginning, was that I noticed Kristen Bell looked very young. (The movie is coming out on DVD this next Thursday in Canada) I thought, "is this movie old and made for TV then they made it for DVD?" And yes, that was it. The story in itself is nothing new in a movie, but the way it is treated is amazing. The movie is rough, sad but beautiful because half of these children's don't have this chance in real life. Not everyone will love this kind of movie, I recommend it if you like small budget movies and actors play. This is not a movie to watch if you feel depressed already! Production wise, let's be honest, it was made for TV. So yes there are spots for pub, but it does not bother the story in anyway. You just have to watch this with an open mind.
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8/10
A breathtaking movie to show you what love truly is
Many people say they love someone. That they love their family, their children, anything. But true love for a family can be seen in the sacrifices that Gracie, a teenage girl, shows for her family. With an unreliable mother, and ailing grandmother, the burden of her family is left squarely on her shoulders, and we see the lengths and sacrifices she has to give up to keep her family together. Kristen Bell's performance is heart breaking and one that will keep you hooked, especially in scenes featuring Anne Heche, another fantastic performer. The little boys in this movie will break your heart as you can see the struggles in their eyes when they are torn between being loyal to the mother that gave birth to them, and the mother they have always known. One to watch, without a doubt.
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10/10
Gracie's Choice Should Be Your Choice Too ****
edwagreen8 July 2007
Outstanding film dealing with a 16 year old who tries to bring stability to a totally dysfunctional family.

There is a truly outstanding performance by Anne Heche as the dysfunctional mother who neglects her children to lead a most disgusting life in pursuit of a good time. Heche is ably supported by Diane Ladd, a religious woman who can quote the bible but could not control her rebellious daughter.

The film deals with how a sharp 16 year old has to learn to play the system to keep her brothers together. Bright, perceptive and unfortunately victimized by a sick mother, Kristen Bell gives a splendid performance.

I enjoyed the part where she meets a black young man who becomes her boyfriend. Nothing is made of the inter-racial relationship nor the fact that the young man has a black father and white mother.

This film shows that a court system can work to the advantage of its victims.
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10/10
Grace's Choice
ronsbrat5257 January 2007
I watched "Down with Love" first and that was a really good movie. I recommend watching it. Stars Renee' Zelwinger. After that went of...I kept the channel on and watched "Grace's Choice". Boy am I glad I did. Kristen Bell does an excellent job in this movie. Kept my interest thru the whole thing. Everyone in this movie does a great job in their respective parts. Its about a teen that has to do the right and impossible thing to keep her siblings together because of their irresponsible mother. I plan on finding the book or article this movie was about and reading it. Does anyone know where I can find it? My email is ronsbrat525@aol.com I recommend this movie to everyone. It is well worth watching!!!!!!
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8/10
An average story boosted by an excellent performance by Kristin Bell
mulhollandman27 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Gracie's Choice is about Gracie Thompson. She is a 17-year-old girl who at a very young age becomes a surrogate mother for her half brothers and half sister. To make matters even more complicated all her siblings have different surnames and nobody knows who their real father is. They live an itinerant life style with their mother. The mother Rowena is heavily involved with drugs and boasts two dependency problems. Her different boyfriends they move from town to town, from school to school and in their mother's case man to man. It is only when they move back to their mother's hometown and the introduction of their Christian grand mother that their unorthodox family situation begins to deteriorate. Their grand mother is a lovely woman whose Christian beliefs bring relief to her in times of trouble. She is totally unlike her daughter in every way but becomes an easy target for the desperate Rowena as she free loads on her. Gracie's attitude towards her mother changes during this period. Sexual advances that her mother's current druggie boyfriend is making towards her bring it on. A situation that makes her mother turns a blind eye towards because she feels that this man is the one for her. Of course this excuse and behavior is something that Gracie has heard seen time and time again. With the arrest of her mother and her subsequent incarceration we see Gracie comfortably take the reigns of her family, with the stability provided by them staying at their grandmothers Gracie without any hesitation or arguments decides to fight for her right to adopt her brothers and protect them from the every present threat of their real mothers return.

As far as these TV Movies go this is in my opinion definitely one of the better ones. Bearing in mind that it is based on a true story and many of the events filmed are invariably dramatized to appeal to the audience. What I really hate about these movies is the fairy tale tone that is applied to the overall presentation. Principle character is involved with some nasty people, a moment of clarity dawns on the principle character, a fight for their right to survive ensues, and the principle character wins. They all live happily ever after. I am sure the people who this was based on are now happy but that did not happen over the stroke of the judge's gavel like it did in this film. The story is very strong and credible up until the end and after seeing it I felt somewhat cheated.

The one aspect of this film I really did enjoy however was the performances of the leading actors. Anne Heche as Rowena is very strong and consistent but typical of the over dramatization that happens in the adaptations of true stories. Diane Ladd as the grand mother is also very strong but Kristin Bell who plays the lead character Gracie out shines both of these experienced actresses. I really disliked her as an actress before I saw this and I thought she was only capable of repeating her Veronica Mars persona (a show I utterly despise). But as Gracie Thompson she plays her trademark persona of being an independent young woman but she ingenuously gels the emotions of confusion, loneliness, fear, love, warmth and intelligence. This marks her out as being a mature actress for her age group. She really made me sit up and take notice and in this day in age where pretty so called actresses are a dime a dozen she not only walks the walk, but talks the talk.

Gracie's Choice will not be for everybody's taste but it is well worth the watch for the inspiring story alone. 8 out of 10.
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10/10
Unique Idea
Ryan R.Miller11 December 2005
well i think there is no comment on that movie... perfect that's the only word can describe it... i should talk more so in other words... the story was unusual but can be accepted easily and you feel the interaction with characters so fast... group of young boys and girls who try to find the balance and safety life in community...also how law enforcement and judge system can be understanding for such unique case... such drama can be useful for teens kids and also adults to learn how much important kids should live in safe and peace the meaning of real family and real love connection between group of people that lead to give a good push up forward into the success in work school or any other activity in life...thanks everybody
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This is the best movie ever made!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Willard Hall3 February 2004
If you have ever watch a movie in your life, you ain't seen nothing until you sit down a watch the Lifetime Movie Gracie's Choice. I know if you watch this movie, you will love it more than any movie you have ever watched in your life.

I have seen some good movies in my time, Gracie's Choice is the best movie I have ever seen in my life. Kristen Bell done a wonderful job in this movie. The thing I love about this movie is that Gracie ain't going to let anything come between her and her little brother's which is now her own children and Gracie is going to keep them together no matter what, and her brothers loves Gracie like a mom. I LOVE THAT. To know that this is a true story and by watching the movie, it makes me feel good. Lifetime TV has brought us the best movie ever made on TV.
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8/10
Brave Choice
nifabs13 August 2005
Gracie had some tough choices to make in this movie, playing mom to 3 brothers and a sister are choices that any teenager should not have to make, once in a while you'd care for siblings under the supervision of your parents, you'd simply carry out the instructions.

Gracie had to make decisions for everyone, basically she put her life on hold, And as mentioned earlier, her boyfriend came across as stupid, one moment he's in love and admiring her strength and the next he's urging her to chuck it in and throw her lot with him and "his nouveau riche" family. It seemed stupid and trite and somewhere out, there's one stupid man who's lost the woman of his life.

Anne Heche's drugged out mom was over-stretched but drugs do things to people, I was glad that Gracie's influence held the kids together.

The scene where the boys had to decide who they'd live was heart-wrenching and actually brought tears to my eyes. Watching the youngest one, talk about his love for horses but wanting to sleep in his bed and wake up at home with Gracie totally melted me.

This is a story that touches the heart, my hat's off to the real Gracie.

You rock Sista, you really do.

Kristen Bell actually made the character believable, she was and is still Gracie for me.

SOUND SOLID MOVIE
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10/10
Wonderful movie
davidsmama6910 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Based on a true story, this is a movie that I decided to watch on Lifetime, simply because I was bored and couldn't find anything else to watch. I went in with expectations of another 'okay' Lifetime movie. However, I was more than just slightly surprised. Anyone with a heart would like this movie, and anyone who can relate to even SOME of the experiences shown, cant help but get pulled in immediately. Gracie is the oldest of 5 children, (the other 4 half-siblings), but even as a young teen, she was always more of a mother than the drug/ alcohol addicted 'mother' who seems to go a come as she pleases. Usually accompanied by a new 'man', aka flavor of the week. The grandmother attempts to help, but only enables her daughters behavior. Gracie makes a choice. She chooses to put her siblings ahead of herself and give them a better life, at the expense of her own. She gets emancipated & convinces a judge to give her a chance to be the mother that her own could and never would become. She goes to highschool, has a job, saves money for a car, gets a place to live, and manages to get her sibling's back in school, getting better grades and actually doing well. She proves that some teenage moms ARE able to do it all. She manages to do it w/ not just 1 child, but 3 (her sister had become pregnant & left by the time Gracie took over. She showed that giving birth doesn't make you a mother. She works hard to do what is right, and by the end, she still goes to college & gives her siblings/children a real life. This is not the typical Lifetime movie. VERY well made & great acting by everyone. A true story of a heartbreaking life, transformed into a story of "you can really come from nothing and become something amazing. Loved it!
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10/10
well inspirational movie
AMITESH PRASAD18 March 2008
I had to confess that i love this movie. i have lost count of the number of times i have seen this movie in a week. Wow.... Kristen Bell as Gracie plays a superb role in this movie trying to look after her 1 half sister and 3 half brothers. Eventually she adopts them and becomes their mother. A lesson out there for the parents who are ill treating their children. A must see movie for everyone. I also like the soundtrack of the movie called : I Belong" by Cherie.... when Gracie was outside racing with the other girls and met his black friend.

10 out 10 vote for this movie. Thank you Lifetime for this inspirational movie.
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7/10
great acting
SnoopyStyle26 August 2016
Rowena Lawson (Anne Heche) and her kids are left homeless after her biker boyfriend gets arrested. They even leave behind their dog as they crash with her religious mother Louela Lawson (Diane Ladd). Rowena continues her drug use and her sleazy boyfriend tries to rape her oldest daughter Gracie Thompson (Kristen Bell). Rowena gets arrested for dealing. The family is split up among youth facilities. The kids are reunited in their grandmother's home while Rowena is locked up. Tommy is infatuated with Gracie. The second daughter Rose Carlton gets knocked up and moves in with her boyfriend. Rowena comes back after getting out of jail and starts stealing the welfare money. At 17, Gracie battles to gain guardianship over her younger step-siblings.

It's a sincere Lifetime movie. The story is very much the expected melodrama. The good comes from excellent work from the actresses. Diane Ladd is the veteran hand. Anne Heche is great as the wild mother. Kristen Bell delivers a solid effort in an early staring role. It's a TV movie elevated by the superior actresses.
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6/10
Not that great movie boosted by an excellent performance by Anne Heche
Roth van Turnhout29 April 2014
Based on a true story that is nothing new in a movie. This movie was just a typical American made for TV "tearjerker". You can see that it is a small budget movie.

The movie is most of the time slow-paced and the script is so-so, but Heche and Bell make the movie with their acting. Two lesser actors would have reduced it to a hack piece of garbage.

Kristen Bell does an descent job in this movie. So does Dianne Laid. But Anne Heche steals the show with her truly outstanding performance as the dysfunctional mother who neglects her children to lead a most disgusting life in pursuit of a good time.

If you are not a fan of drama, Anne Heche's performance is the only reason to invest time in watching "Gracie's Choice"
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