Saving Grace B. Jones (DVD)

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saving grace b jones s - Saving Grace B. Jones (DVD)Starring Michael Biehn, Penelope Ann Miller, Tatum O’Neal

Directed by Connie Stevens

Distributed by Arc Entertainment

If I were to stumble upon Saving Grace B. Jones on cable, you would be hard pressed to convince me that I wasn’t watching a made-for-TV Lifetime movie. Written, directed, and produced by Connie Stevens, who first made a name for herself in the television show “Hawaiian Eye” in the early Sixties, her debut behind the camera is just. plain. bad.

The film opens with a young girl named Carrie (Rylee Fansler) witnessing a murder on a bus in early flood-ravaged 1950s Missouri. Rendering her “unresponsive,” she is sent to live with Landy (Michael Biehn) and Bea Bretthorse (Penelope Ann Miller) and their daughter, Lucy (Evie Louise Thompson), a couple living in the country and preparing to bring home Landy’s sister, Grace (Tatum O’Neal). Grace was sent to an insane asylum at the age of seventeen for being hit by a truck before her wedding, and despite all objections, Landy is determined to give her a proper homecoming. Naturally, things don’t go as planned, since Grace is still crazy.

Or something. I don’t know. The movie makes almost no sense. There’s a reason it took five years for this film to finally receive a release. It’s overlong, boring, and filled with stilted dialogue forced out of the mouths of actors who give off the appearance that they’re merely going with the flow for the sake of a paycheck. The opening voiceover sets the tone, a purely expository bit of dialogue that feels as if it were ripped directly from the pages of a dollar store romantic thriller. From then on it takes over an HOUR for the whole point of the film – Grace basically going crazy – to actually happen; everything that comes before it is an exercise in restraint as I resisted the urge to turn the movie off.

Almost everything in the film is filler, with O’Neal doing little more than talking to herself and causing minor arguments between Landy and the local Reverend. Subplots are introduced and then abandoned, used solely to pad the film’s non-story. Not until about the 90-minute mark does anything remotely “thrilling” begin to happen, and it’s dull and oh my God I can’t believe I sat through the entire movie; I think my eyes are bleeding.

Don’t be fooled like I was. Saving Grace B. Jones is not a thriller as the marketing would lead you to believe, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me it was used as a torture method in Abu Ghraib.

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