Grace, a lifelong farm girl now in her early 20s, has dreamed all her life of the day "Mr. Right" slips a Princess Cut diamond on her finger and swears to love her forever. Tonight may be th... Read allGrace, a lifelong farm girl now in her early 20s, has dreamed all her life of the day "Mr. Right" slips a Princess Cut diamond on her finger and swears to love her forever. Tonight may be that night as Stewart has something special planned after 15 months together. But when thing... Read allGrace, a lifelong farm girl now in her early 20s, has dreamed all her life of the day "Mr. Right" slips a Princess Cut diamond on her finger and swears to love her forever. Tonight may be that night as Stewart has something special planned after 15 months together. But when things don't go as planned and the romance crashes down around her, she launches on a quest, ai... Read all
The gist of the plot is that a young woman in a small rural town (because these types of movies always seem to take place in one of those) named Grace has had a series of bad relationships. She gets in a relationship with a boy named Jared, only for him to push himself on her a bit and make her get more physical than she intended. She confesses this to her parents, breaks up with Jared, and vows to be more cautious and honoring to God in her next relationship. Enter Clint, a doctor who just moved in next door, and who eventually asks Grace's parents permission to court her. All is not well though: Brooke, Clint's old fling, enters the picture. Again, it's an interesting story, and could have been done well, but the film's delivery just ruins it.
For one, there's the acting, which is absolutely terrible. Most of the actors look and sound like their scenes were done in only one take, and with little enthusiasm done in the project. Scenes that were supposed to be serious actually had me cracking up. For example, there's a part where Jared tells Grace about how he came from a broken home, and Grace says things like "That's terrible" or "How sad"... but in absolute deadpan delivery. Seriously, it made Kirsten Stewart's performance in "Twilight" look like the final scene in "Schindler's List". The dad, played by Rusty Martin Sr. (whom many will probably recognize as Javier's sinister boss in "Courageous"), is supposed to be wise and sagely, and at times he is supposed to be commanding and forceful, but, again, because the scenes feel like the actors were forced to recite their lines and move on, come out as flat. Admittedly I was okay with Joseph Gray's performance as Clint, but, again, it comes out as weak enough that you have to wonder if anybody enjoyed themselves while filming this.
For another, there's the film making. Seriously, why could they NOT keep the camera still during this?! Were they shooting a family-friendly rom-com or a gritty police drama? Other reviewers have complained that it looks like it was filmed with a handheld camera, and that's not far from the truth. I half-wondered if the director gave his elderly grandmother the camera and had her film the whole thing. Note to directors: you can buy cheap tripods off of Amazon - or heck, go super cheap and just stack books or boxes on top of a chair or something. Anything! Not to mention that half the scenes are awkwardly shot, so that the camera has to jerk to correct the angle, or actors and elements will be covered up by other actors and elements. (It's hard to describe this in a review, but trust me - if you watch the film, you'll notice it.) Then there are some weird soundtrack choices, like when Grace goes to visit a secular therapist. There were weird animal noises in the background, and my wife and I had to mute the TV to make sure that the noises weren't coming from outside. What were they thinking with that?
The biggest problem with this movie is that 99% of this script MAKES NO ABSOLUTE SENSE. Here's a list of problems to highlight what I mean:
* Actions done by characters will make little to no sense. At the start of the movie, Grace goes to meet her (then boyfriend) at a restaurant, only to find his old college friends there, who then proceed to burp and do other rude stuff, which she is shocked by. (Really? He showed no sign of being this rude or crazy before?) Then when she mentions that he had something to tell her, he reveals that he's engaged to another girl. Wait, what?! Why would he invite his girlfriend, and even mention he had something to tell her, only to reveal that it was him being engaged to ANOTHER GIRL?! Then Grace gets up and storms out of the restaurant, and nobody - not the people at the table, not her (now) ex-boyfriend, not the waitress, nobody - stops her or asks what's wrong. It doesn't end there. When Grace meets Jared at a coffee shop, he asks, "Hey, didn't we meet at the jewelry store?" and she blurts out, "Thanks for reminding me of the worst day of my life!" and storms away. What?! Who talks like that! Then when Grace is talking with her friend Tessa about Jared's physical advances, Tessa outright blurts out, "Did he force himself on you?" Again, who talks like that to people? There are more examples, but so many parts of this movie will leave you going, "Wait, what?"
* After Grace confesses to her parents about how physical her and Jared got, her dad confesses that he's been so distracted lately with his work and forgot about checking in on her. Wait, what? They'd established already in the movie that ALL of Grace's relationships HER WHOLE LIFE had been duds. Dad, this isn't an oopsie on your part... You've been asleep at the wheel for most of your daughter's tenure on this earth.
* So much of this film skips time, forcing you to just accept the fact that characters are supposed to be developed between the lines. For example, there are two or three scenes of Jared and Grace hanging out together in coffee shops or at park benches, then a minute later you're told they've been together for weeks. Then when Clint helps out around the farm (how is he able to have time to do that when he's a doctor?) you see one scene of him goofing off with hay with the family, then the next scene? BOOM! He's asking the parents permission to court their daughter, to which it's mentioned that he's been helping "for months". What?! Could we have seen those months, or gotten a little more than hay tossing as character development? Relationships in this movie literally only work because it tells you they do. You feel zero connection with these people or care about their relationships.
* When Brooke, Clint's old fling, comes over to Grace's home with the intent to win him back, nobody - I mean NOBODY - tells her that he's courting Grace. Even Grace, when she has a chance, doesn't bother to do it, even though you'd think any girl at this point would be like "Back off my man!" Eventually Clint does tell her, but even by then it's gone on ridiculously long. (I was having nightmarish flashbacks of "While You Were Sleeping"...) On top of this, Brooke's character, for some odd reason, is done EXTREMELY creepy. Every scene with her is unintentionally weird, to the point that my wife and I started joking that she was like a Batman villain.
* Grace is friends with this girl named Tessa who sees completely opposite to her when it comes to worldviews, always talks down to her, and always offers the worst advice. In the middle of the movie, Tessa bumps into Clint (literally, that's their entire interaction) then gets upset as all heck with Grace for getting together with him, and even storm over to her house and accuses Grace of stealing Clint. Eh? Throughout the movie you'll be finding yourself constantly asking, "Why in the heck are these two even friends?!"
* Near the end of the movie, Jared attempts to sexually assault Grace (nothing over a PG-rating happens, but it's implied what he's about to do) until Clint intervenes, and then the dad comes in, but all that happens is that the dad tells Jared to get off his land. This, despite the fact that I'm fairly certain most dads, finding his daughter's manipulative ex-boyfriend about to rape her in the barn, would have either committed a citizen's arrest or killed him and buried him in the soybean field. (Having two daughters myself, I personally would have done the latter... but that's just me.)
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Again, this movie COULD have been good, but it ends up being really, really bad. It's a good movie if you want something to riff on, or you need another example of why many films aimed at Christian audience are just Hallmark knock offs (which isn't much to begin with), but if you're looking for something actually decent in terms of writing and film making... just look elsewhere.
- Sep 20, 2020