Winner of MovieGuide coveted Epiphany Prize as the Most Inspiring Film of the Year.
In a prodigal daughter story, a talented young singer and aspiring songwriter’s Christian faith and family ties are tested when she defies her worship-pastor father and pursues pop-music stardom in Grace Unplugged. Written and directed by Brad Silverman (No Greater Love), Grace Unplugged stars AJ Michalka (Secretariat) as Grace, James Denton (Desperate Housewives) as her father Johnny, Shawnee Smith (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) as her mother Michelle and Kevin Pollack (The Usual Suspects) as Johnny’s former manager, Mossy.
The film earned its greatest industry honor thus far over the weekend, taking home the top prize at Movieguide’s 22nd Annual Faith and Family Awards. Best Film Actress for AJ Michalka and Best Film Actor for James Denton. The movie was also nominated as Family Film of the Year.
Setting a new standard as the best faith-best film of 2013, Grace Unplugged (Lionsgate Home Entertainment) releases to Blu-ray and DVD on February 11.
About the film:
Having just turned 18, Grace Trey (Michalka) aspires to more than just singing at her church, where the worship leader is her father, former pop star Johnny Trey (Denton). When Johnny’s former hit goes viral on the internet, his former agent Mossy (Pollack) shows up to offer Johnny a new record deal. After her dad turns down what Grace feels is an amazing dream, she secretly demos her dad’s song and sends it to Mossy, who loves it and offers the deal to Grace instead. Running off to Los Angeles, Grace is plunged into the heady world of stardom.
Over the last several years, if you mentioned ‘faith-based film’ you could literally see people’s eyes roll back in their heads. Terms like, ‘contrived,’ low-quality,’ ‘preachy’ and ‘boring’ are the nicer things that you typically heard back. Grace Unplugged is none of these. Silverman’s writing is sharp and insightful with believable, 3-dimensional characters and a story line that is realistic, including the truth that a pastor’s family is no more perfect than yours, and sometimes includes the heartache of a prodigal child. The script showed a side of Hollywood that most people do not see; how people within the industry are masters when it comes to ‘spin.’
The acting in the film is stellar. Michalka portrays Grace as a complex young woman certain of her dreams, yet struggling with just how much she is willing to do to achieve them. Denton’s and Smith’s portrayals as parents of prodigals are heart-rending; angry one minute, weeping the next as they wait and pray for their child’s return. Pollack portrayed Mossy as a friend of Johnny and Grace, but first and foremost a businessman. Michael Welch did a great job as Quentin, the intern who proved that you can be in the industry and not compromise your faith.
One would expect a movie about the record industry to have music and Grace Unplugged does not disappoint. Michalka - who is a singer/songwriter/musician and part of 78violet, the platinum-selling duo previously recorded as Aly & AJ – performed all of her songs. Music in the film includes songs from Christian artists Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, /Toby McKeehan and Brooke Ligertwood. The music video, “All I’ve Ever Needed,” written by Ben Glover and Sarah Hart, is beautiful.
The production values of Grace Unplugged are top-notch, never once revealing that the film was made on what the Silverman revealed was a shoe-string budget.
BLU-RAY/DVD features include:
* “Own It: Making of Grace Unplugged” featurette
* “The Music” featurette
* “Gags” reel
* Deleted Scenes
For those who have decried the lack of quality faith-based movies, Grace Unplugged, is a must see.
Running 141 minutes, Grace Unplugged is rated PG for thematic elements and brief teen drinking.