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'Saving Grace' film review

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'Saving Grace'

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A rare delight among comic films, 'Saving Grace' is a charming and witty glimpse into the controversial life of a proper upper middle class English housewife by the name of Grace Trevethyn, played by (Brenda Blethyn) and the unusual rapport she enjoys with her gardener, Matthew (Craig Ferguson). Their friendship is genuine and mutually beneficial, even strong enough to sustain Grace when she learns that her husband has suddenly jumped off a cliff into the deep blue ocean under great financial pressures, due to repeatedly unscrupulous investment errors.

Worse still, it is revealed that all the money is now gone including Grace's ownership rights to the opulent family estate. In the aftermath of this devastating incident, it is Matthew's job to dig the ground at the grave site where the casket is to be placed, though by all indications he is not entirely overwhelmed by this cumbersome and depressing chore, as he takes a moment to smoke a marijuana cigarette while digging... in fact, he regularly smokes the substance and has been growing a few plants in a carefully hidden part of the garden albeit without much success, as he has been neglecting to provide sufficient water and light in order for the plants to bloom.

Yet the meager fruits of Matthew's labor do manage to keep his spirits afloat, and his easy going mannerism proves to have a surprisingly positive effect on poor Grace who is constantly being hounded by bankers and creditors lurking like sharks at her doorstep, inching closer and closer to her by the day. When they finally arrive for Matthew's lawnmower and he tries to put up a fight Grace prevents him, realizing that any attempt to resist the inevitable would be futile.

Naturally the gardener cannot bear the looming perpetual sadness on his lady's face and knowing that she too has a green thumb, invites Grace to peak at his dying plants in the hope that she might be able to revive them. Interestingly, Matthew's gesture is metaphoric in that Grace is much like a dying flower herself, and in desperate need of somehow coming back to life. He leads her to the site at night with flashlight in hand, becoming reticent when she gets wind that he is growing cannabis; and though a tad bit condescending at first, Grace does not hesitate to take at least one of the plants home with her to nurture.

The plot thickens and a series of increasingly humorous events ensue, as the two devise a plan to cultivate a greenhouse and actually attempt to market the crops for a profit under the disdainful eye of Matthew's pregnant girlfriend Nicky (Valerie Edmond) and the mild amusement of a sympathetic town. However, when things start to get out of hand and Sargent Mabely (Ken Campbell) pays Grace a visit she immediately comes to her senses, burns the weed, writes a bestselling novel, and remarries a man totally opposite of her husband!

A funny and often hilarious film with excellent timing and a politically relevant message, 'Saving Grace' is available online, in area libraries and movie stores.

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