For years her songs brought fame to other people. Then she found her own voice. From the late 1950s doo-wop era to the psychedelic 70s songwriting sensation denise waverly struggles to escape the shadow of pop music icons ... more »and ultimately emerges as a singer in her own right. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 06/01/2004 Starring: Illeana Douglas Eric Stolz Run time: 116 minutes Rating: R Director: Allison Anders« less
HUGH H. KIRKPATRICK | COOPER CITY, FL USA | 04/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though this film will probably not have much appeal to anyone under 40, it is a clever and entertaining look at the most exciting and creative period in pop music history. Many 'stars' of this era are parodied here, and those familiar with the music of the 60's will immediately recognize the characters portrayed. The original music is beautiful, and recorded with incredible authenticty. John Turturro is marvelous as the New York hot-shot music publisher, carefully nurturing his latest discovery, a female songwriter (played by Illeana Douglas) who turns out hit after hit and makes a fortune for herself and the publishing company, but wants only to make her own record as a singer. "Denise" finally gets to do just that, but only after losing two husbands and for a short while, her own mind. This is one of just a few films that I watch at least 3 times a year."
Why do I like this so much?
lexo-2 | 06/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I wouldn't normally consider myself a fan of life-affirming womens' stories. I'm supposed to be a spiky intellectual male-type-person. I don't like this kind of music; I prefer loud guitars, anything from the Second Viennese School, atonal improvisation and hip-hop. This film should by rights make me gag.And yet, it's so well-written and so beautifully acted that it taps in me some suppressed vein of shameless emotionalism. Ileanna Douglas is brilliant as the geeky songwriter who matures into a sadder and wiser Earth Mother, following various more or less catastrophic relationships with oppressive men. John Turturro is the producer with a very strange beard who keeps a sort-of-brotherly eye out for her. Bridget Fonda has a lovely cameo as the teen idol with the guilty secret. Even Patsy Kensit is good, for crying out loud. There's a scene near the end where Turturro confronts Douglas that gets me as near to crying as I ever get about something fictional, and that's saying a lot. Douglas's singing voice is dubbed by Kristen Vigard, whoever she is, and full marks to her. It's not going to make me go out and buy a Carole King CD, but it's a gem of a movie."
This Movie Pulls at My Heart!
Sylvia J. Spear | Altus, Oklahoma United States | 12/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My twenty something daughter & I both love this movie. It was the first time I had seen Illeana Douglas & John Turturro in a movie, & I loved them both. I've found since then that John Turturro is a chameleon, changing physically with each character. I'll never forget Illeana D. in this role--like one of your reviewers said, it's hard to believe she wasn't singing the songs. I loved the music of all the groups in this movie--wish all of the songs were included on the music cd. The girl who sings "God Give Me Strength" was fantastic! As were all singers in this movie. Matt Dillon, Eric Stoltz, & Bruce Davison were excellent, as always. Christina Pickles & Bridget Fonda were great in their small parts, also as usual. I was disappointed that Leonard Maltin gave this movie only 2 1/2 stars, but he does that for a lot of movies that I like. I watched this movie at late night on HBO or some cable channel about two years ago, & became addicted to it, & guess I also infected my daughter. I have ordered a dvd for both of us for Xmas--am looking forward to seeing all the extras. I thought that Edna served as a symbol of the growth of rock music from the early sixties through the eighties. Also, it showed the treatment of a woman in this industry, although probably not as really hard as it was. And, it showed the relationship struggles that real women go through every day. But, it was the music that makes this movie so great for me, & the portrayal of this music & the music business by the great actors."
Great Movie, Great Value DVD, the 'white Dreamgirls'?
ClassicKol | Connecticut, mostly | 02/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A lot to recommend here, Illeana Douglas deserved an Oscar nomination, and much more popular recognition than was forthcoming for her terrific performance in what should have been her breakthrough movie. Her portrayal of Denise Waverly (nee Edna Buxton) is just so RIGHT that it has to be seen rather than droned-on about. But drone on, I must, if it might help let people know there is a lot in this movie to savor. Ms. Douglas is so excellent that it's tempting to overlook good work of other actors in the movie, but i won't. As the beautiful but snooty British songwriting colleague of Denise's, Patsy Kensit is just perfect, the eventual friendship of the two women unfolds believably and very enjoyably. Douglas and Kensit are terrific in their scenes together. Matt Dillon gave one of his best film performances here, Eric Stoltz and John Turturro were spot-on in roles that seemed to be (loosely) based upon Gerry Goffin and Phil Spector. The Edna/Denise character clearly has shadings of Carole King, while Dillon's character seems to have more than a tad of Brian Wilson used as inspiration. Chris Isaak, in a miniscule role, unfortunately, is totally forgettable as Kensit's husband. Recapturing what NYC's Brill Building may have been like circa 1963, progressing with a satisfying segue into early 70's Los Angeles, the movie hits all the right notes. Members from the girl-group that Denise wrote early hits for nicely weave in and out of the movie, the Patty Duke-esque female teen-star who struggles with her 'Secret Love' provides another memorable segment amongst many. The film may have undone itself by not admitting the not-so-subtle maskings of aspects of the lives of Carole King and Phil Spector. These 'fictional' characters seem to be a treatment of "what if Phil Spector had discovered Carole King and then she fell in love with Brian Wilson?' (It is less obvious that the roles of Kensit and Isaak could also be intrepreted as being based upon Mann and Weill, the UK's answer to King and Goffin in the 1960's). Maybe 'karma' somehow prevented this film from being the huge smash it should have been, only in that if the lives of King, Goffin, Spector and Wilson actually were the inspiration of this movie, it may have been better to be upfront about it. Yet, the film is so life-affirming, the music so good, the feel of it so resonant, 'Grace Of My Heart' is a success of its own entity. Today in 2007, Motown, Diana Ross, Berry Gordy and Florence Ballard are getting similar treatment with 'Dreamgirls'-- aspects of their lives are used without monetary compensation, changing just enough not to have to pay. 'Dreamgirls' is 2007's "Grace of My Heart", with louder box-office ka-ching and some Oscar noise that 'Grace of My Heart' was actually more deserving of. The DVD is a great value for the price, loaded with extras and a sufficient fold-out booklet. See it for a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Illeana Douglas."
Great DVD for a great movie!
Bob Ashley | texas | 07/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this on encore or something a few years ago and loved it!Being a huge fan of the Brill building pop of the late 50s to the early 70s and an admirer of director Allison Anders I was all over this.I was quite happy with it!Great performances,music,and story arc.The dvd has a widescreen film with great sound,deleted scenes(w/3 music performances),a making-of featurette with cast and crew,and commentary from Anders. Yay Universal!"