Grace is Gone
John Cusack, Alessandro Nivola, Shélan O'Keefe, Gracie Bdenarczyk
James C. Strouse, Reagan Silber, Paul Bernstein, Galt Niederhoffer, John Cusack, Grace Loh, Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Jean-Louis Bompoint, Joe Klotz, Susan Block, Max Richter
Stanley Phillips, a patriot and father of two, is overwhelmed when he gets news that his wife, Grace, has been killed in the Iraq war. Though distraught himself, he tries to rally the strength to tell his young daughters. Instead, he bundles them in the car and heads out on a road trip to their favorite amusement park. Inside, he knows what he needs to do. But he must first learn who his daughters are before he can begin helping them overcome this tragedy.
John Cusack's achingly poignant performance is the backbone of Grace Is Gone. He is always superb in finding pathos in characters, but as Stanley, he exhibits a newfound maturity as an actor. His two young costars turn in amazingly realistic performances as they attempt to decipher their dad's sporadic behavior, and Alessandro Nivola, as the liberal brother, is the perfect foil for Stanley's belief systems.
With an elegant film that's as topical as it is devastating, writer/director James Strouse rightfully secures a place on the indie scene. His dialogue is sparse; instead, carefully chosen images convey this family's difficulty in reconnecting. That Grace Is Gone can be construed as promilitary guarantees its greatest impact. It is sure to be exalted as the freshest and best antiwar movie of this troubled time.