Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Savage Grace, based on the award winning book, tells the incredible true story of Barbara Daly, who married above her class to Brooks Baekeland, the dashing heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Beautiful, red-headed and charismatic, Barbara is still no match for her well-bred husband. The birth of the couple's only child, Tony, rocks the uneasy balance in this marriage of extremes. Tony is a failure in his father's eyes. As he matures and becomes increasingly close to his lonely mother, the seeds for a tragedy of spectacular decadence are sown. Spanning 1946 to 1972, the film unfolds in six acts. The Baekelands' pursuit of social distinction and the glittering 'good life' propels them across the globe. We follow their heady rise and tragic fall against the backdrop of New York, Paris, Cadaques, Mallorca and London.
    (IFC First Take)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 28
  2. Negative: 4 out of 28
  1. 83
    If you might wish the film got deeper under the skin of the characters, you also feel grateful for the fact that you'll never get closer to them than watching it.
  2. Part of the film's failure to arouse real horror is the languid direction; not enough seems to be at stake emotionally.
  3. Howard A. Rodman's script has a lot of juice, and the rhythms are so pregnant that the air vibrates with something, even if you're not sure what.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Scripter Howard A. Rodman's treatment of an enthralling book is more a series of vignettes rather than a fully connected work, and helmer Tom Kalin seems unable to decide how much Sirkian melodrama to introduce into the heady mix. Gone are the reasons to be fascinated with these people, merely replaced with maddeningly over-arch dialogue and struggles with characterization.
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Has everything one could ask of a true-crime expose.
  6. Reviewed by: Jamie Tipps
    To be sure, it's a very pretty, well acted production; however, that doesn't make up for the fact that I hated every minute of it.
  7. An unbroken flow of sad or nasty incidents.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 2 out of 5
  1. [Anonymous]
    Jun 6, 2008
    An amazing film. It pulls you so deeply into the story. Suspenseful and ultimately shattering. Tom Kalin is a great filmmaker.
  2. JayH
    Sep 18, 2008
    Julianne Moore is terrific as always, stylish, perhaps too much so. The art direction and costumes are great. The main problem with the film is that none of the characters are appealing. But, it's worth watching. Expand
  3. MichaelH
    Apr 11, 2009
    Movie could've been great if not for several major flaws. Clocking in at around 90 minutes, it was way too short to instill any story and could've benefited from at least another half hour of development. The story is very disjoint and events and characters are forgotten as suddenly as they were introduced. The movie is basically just a series of powerful scenes, all independent of each other however. Julianne Moore also plays pretty much the same thing she always plays. Fairly disappointing. Expand
  4. Oct 18, 2010
    Who said that evil is banal? Banality is the problem with this film which is technically well-made and cast with mesmerizing actors--especially the young ones; the son and the girlfriend and the son's lover. What motivates
    the mother? Why is her behavior so far off balance? Julianne Moore may have done better with a more filled out characterization. When the film began I immediately thought of a far more effective characterization of a borderline personality--Nancy in the film, "Sid and Nancy." And the film seriously underplays what has happened to the son--until the devasting finale. The real son, who this character was based on, in life, showed extreme behavioral signals, not just the enuie and lassitude we see here.
  5. DavidM
    Jul 3, 2008
    Some of the scenes feature brilliant acting and the film has great visual and aural appeal, but I never felt emotionally invested in any of the characters - I felt like the director was more interested in flirting with alienating the audience with his characters' flaws and indecency than in weaving meaning into the story. Expand