Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Summary: There was a time when Stanley Phillips could see his entire life clearly. He dreamed of patriotic service and was destined for a military career. He came close to that dream until it was cut short simply because of his poor eyesight. Now he's serving customers at a home supply store while his sergeant wife is fighting in Iraq. Equally as awkward at home as he is at work, he's raising Heidi, their 12-year-old daughter, and Dawn, her 8-year-old sister. Although a loving father, Stanley is unable to conform to a more affectionate role, and the girls miss their mother deeply. While tolerating his job and stumbling through parenting he is abruptly awakened when tragedy strikes. Ill prepared to deal with it himself, he is at a complete loss contemplating how to tell his children. He's desperate to delay telling the children, so they embark on a spontaneous road trip. Grasping to give them their last moments of innocence, Stanley reveals a softer side as they travel to Dawn's chosen destination: Enchanted Gardens Theme Park. The farther they drive, the closer they become, yet Stanley knows he must face the inevitable task of changing their lives forever. (The Weinstein Company) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. 83
    Attempts to address grief frankly, gently, and without didacticism, and it largely succeeds.
  2. It’s a close call, but Grace is Gone is worth seeing for the way John Cusack works with Shelan O’Keefe and Gracie Bednarczyk, two of the least affected and most affecting young actors to hit the screen this year.
  3. 75
    Simplicity -- four-square, not sappy -- is rare in film. James C. Strouse had it in his script for Lonesome Jim. As writer and first-time director, he gives Grace Is Gonethe quiet power to sneak up and floor you.
  4. 70
    An emotionally rich and satisfying drama featuring a terrifically understated performance from John Cusack.
  5. The most noteworthy thing about the Iraq war home-front drama, Grace Is Gone, is that Clint Eastwood composed its musical score and title song, which have both been garnering all sorts of accolades, including dual Golden Globe nominations.
  6. 50
    His (John Cusack) quickness and intelligence make him a poor choice to play the flat-footed main character, a rigidly conservative family man who can't work up the nerve to tell his two daughters their soldier mother has been killed in action.
  7. A disappointing and manipulative look at one family's loss in the Iraq war.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. ChrisP.
    Dec 8, 2007
    Really, really emotional.
  2. ChadS.
    May 28, 2008
    Is she in denial, the older daughter, Heidi(Shelan O'Keefe), who at twelve, should recognize the tell-tale signs(a casserole at the front door, a family meeting suddenly aborted) that something is amiss, before the incomplete family piles into the family car? Their trip to an amusement park(reminiscent of "National Lampoon's Vacation"; possible social commentary, perhaps, the war as Dub-ya's World), as a way for the father(John Cusack) to stop time, rings false, because "Grace is Gone" underestimates the intelligence of children. And even worse, in the opening scene, Stanley attends a millitary wives' meeting, played for laughs. Emasculating a soldier's husband is no way to honor the countless women with children serving our country. But in spite of it all, when the father tells his children that mom isn't coming home, "Grace is Gone" offers up an anti-war moment that bests anything from the recent slate of films about our post-9/11 world; W.'s world, not Walley's World. Stanley supports his wife, her mission, but in that same jingoistic conversation with his kids, the war husband says that he sells s*** to people. "Grace is Gone" would've been an unqualified success had the director made it clear that Heidi knows, so Heidi hides, just like her father, from the truth. Expand
  3. JayH.
    May 21, 2008
    It's not a bad film. Good score, well acted. But I am not sure why it was made. Okay, his wife dies. And... There is very little in the film you can sink your teeth into. They could have told it all in about 8 minutes. Expand