Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Stephen Dillane, Anne Reid, Martin Huber
Director: Tom Kalin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Set across a stunning backdrop ranging from New York to Paris to Cadaqués, Savage Grace is the incredible true story of a scandal that even today remains shocking. The beautiful Barbara Daly (Academy Award-nominee Julianne... more »
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Neil S. from COLLEGEVILLE, PA
Reviewed on 10/8/2011...
awesome movie. highly erotic. couldn't stop watching it and rewinding certain scenes. loved it.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
A Lost Dog Collar: Impact and Consequences
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"SAVING GRACE is screenwriter Howard A. Rodman's adaptation of Natalie Robins and Steven M.L. Aronson's brutally realistic book by the same name of a famous wealthy family's downfall. Director Tom Kalin has previously proved that he can successfully mix biopic with drama ('Swoon'), but alas in this tedious film he fails to make the audience care about any of his characters, despite the fact that he cast this strange collection of edgy types with outstanding actors. In the end, after witnessing an incestuous relationship between mother and son and a subsequent brutal murder, the only moment of tenderness is a very lost boy's need to recover the collar of his childhood dog, long dead but hardly forgotten in the murky soup that has been his life.
Knowing that the story is true adds a bit of intrigue: the family of a plastics mogul is in the third generation: Brooks Baeklande (Stephen Dillane) wallows in his wealth without positively contributing to his family reputation; his wife Barbara (Julianne Moore), a former actress and Feline's salesgirl who marries into wealth only to become obsessed with climbing a ladder that repeatedly betrays her 'class'; their only son Antony (Eddie Redmayne) who moves from his mother's worshipped idol to his father's loathed rival at his being bisexual/gay to a series of affairs - none of which he finds satisfying or fulfilling, especially his ultimate incestuous relationship with his mother. The film runs from 1946 (Antony's birth) to 1972 and the tragic finale and during this time the audience is conducted through the superficial corridors of life among the wealthy and influential people of New York, Paris, London, Cadaques. Along the way we meet some interesting characters, paramours of Antony played by Elena Anaya, the gifted actors Unax Ugalde and Hugh Dancy, and a host of other bit parts who enliven the action or act as stimuli for the crumbling downfall of Barbara Baekeland.
The various periods of time are well captured by cinematographer Juan Miguel Azpiroz who manages to give us the 'superficial beauty' of these empty souls while keeping a safe distance from their degrading antics. The musical score by Fernando Velázquez is always too loud and falls between the cracks of elevator Muzak and takeoffs on Wagner's leitmotifs from 'Tristan und Isolde'.
The major problem with this film is that it is nearly impossible for us to emotionally invest in any of the characters, even as well defined as they are in the hands of such excellent actors. It is this distance that sinks the film, a 'biopic' about rather distasteful folks that offers little insight into the positive aspects of their deranged behavior. Or perhaps that void is what Tom Kalin is striving to depict. It just misses. Grady Harp, June 08"
Moore Tries to Rise Above the Dark Oedipal Corners Between M
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 06/17/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think I can look at my Bakelite steak knives the same way again, even though the filmmakers don't show a single piece of Bakelite in this 2008 movie. The subject, however, is Barbara Daly Baekeland, the wealthy wife of Brooks Baekeland, grandson of Leo Baekeland, founder of Bakelite plastic. It only becomes pertinent when you realize her son Antony is the heir to a major plastics company. Directed by Tom Kalin, a leader in the New Queer Cinema movement, the time-spanning story focuses on the unhealthy co-dependence that seems to have developed since birth between mother and son, a relationship that takes an unsavory turn toward incest and ultimately murder.
Howard A. Rodman's screenplay covers over a quarter-century of the characters' lives beginning in 1946 when a vivacious Barbara dotes on her baby Antony even as she gallivants amid the Manhattan social scene. The story quickly flashes forward to Paris when a precocious, 14-year-old Antony remains devoted to his mother even when she embarrasses him by forcing him to read a passage from de Sade's Justine in front of a small gathering of pretentious socialites. Another seven years pass, and a sexually awakened Antony takes up with a young, pot-smoking Spaniard named Jake, while Barbara has been deserted by her husband Brooks for a younger woman who once bedded Antony. As with many women of her standing, Barbara becomes involved with a gay "walker", Sam, who becomes Barbara's erudite escort. More transgressions occur until we catch up with mother and son living together in London in 1972. The Oedipal machinations come into fruition there leading to the tragic conclusion.
The movie is really an extended exercise in self-loathing spotlighting truly unlikable characters, chief among them the grasping Barbara and the psychologically damaged Antony. The stilted dialogue doesn't help much either. You walk away understanding what would drive Antony to schizophrenia but are given little reason to care what happens. No stranger to mid-century roles (Far from Heaven, The Hours), Julianne Moore is one of our most accomplished actresses, and she manages to etch a powerful portrait of a deeply disturbed and irredeemable woman despite the odds. However, Kalin leaves her stranded in a role that elicits no sympathy. The same fate befalls Eddie Redmayne (The Other Boleyn Girl) as the grown Antony, and his performance becomes a series of limp-wristed mannerisms that remind me a bit of Cillian Murphy's work in Breakfast on Pluto. Stephen Dillane hardly makes an impression as Brooks, but Hugh Dancy (Evening, The Jane Austen Book Club) certainly makes a more convincing "walker" than Woody Harrelson did in The Walker. Except for the always watchable Moore, I say skip it."
Out of Nowhere
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 02/09/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
""Savage Grace" attracted me because I enjoyed Stephen Dillane in Firelight, an incredibly lovely and obscure film. He also was in The Hours, for which Julianne Moore got a supporting actress Oscar nomination. As Brooks Baekeland, he plays a cold, unfeeling father who seems to have contempt for his son from the cradle. His wife Barbara is played by Julianne Moore. Her red hair is lovely; and Moore attacks the part with wild relish. Barbara's uninhibited physicality seems to have attracted Brooks, but then becomes a barrier between them as husband and wife. Julianne Moore has three other Oscar nominations ("Boogie Nights," "The End of the Affair," & "Far from Heaven"), and turns in a fine performance, although the character's behavior is somewhat inexplicable. There is a mild hint of revulsion that Barbara expresses as she walks in on her son Tony with Black Jake, played by Unax Ugalde. But then she hires the gay Sam Green to help her after her divorce. Green is played by Hugh Dancy who was excellent in Evening. The concluding event seems to come from nowhere. I think this is a screenwriter's problem rather than an actress's ability to express subtext. Eddie Redmayne who was in The Good Shepherd (Widescreen Edition) plays the adult son Tony. Barney Clark does an excellent setup for Redmayne as the young Tony. However, adult Tony seems to be the go-between peacemaker between his estranged parents. The violent climax and detachment seems to also come out of nowhere. Again, this seems to be a problem of the screenwriter. Elena Anaya plays Blanca, Brooks' second wife. Tom Kalin who has made a name directing gay-themed films like "Swoon" allows for numerous bumps along this episodic tale. The DVD extras aren't that helpful and seemed thrown together relying on lots of footage from the film without adding much information. While all three leading actors and the supporting roles offer good moments on film, the project doesn't shed light on the story. The non-maternal actions of Barbara's character were very hard to watch. This is a film with which I'm not glad to have spent time. Taxi!"