Saving Grace
R
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2

This British comedy won the audience award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. It stars Brenda Blethyn as Grace, a middle-aged widow who suddenly discovers her husband has left her penniless and deeply in debt. All the locals in the small English seaside village admire and respect Grace, especially for her gardening expertise. Matthew (Craig Ferguson), her handyman, and Dr. Bamford (Martin Clunes) secretly grow hemp for their personal use on the vicar's property. But as creditors begin closing in on Grace, she and Matthew start cultivating a crop in her greenhouse. In a matter of weeks, using hydroponics, the two produce enough for harvesting and selling to drug dealers. Can the crop get Grace out of debt? Can Grace save Matthew's relationship with his girlfriend who disapproves of his illegal activities? Can the villagers save Grace from the banker's and drug dealer's clutches? This fast moving comedy has some hilarious scenes reminiscent of WAKING NED DEVINE as a whole town pitches in to help a lady in distress. 94 minutes of light-hearted fun, SAVING GRACE is for mature audiences, but will be shown in a limited number of theaters.

Unfortunately, the story has a fairy-tale "crimes pays" theme and promotes the idea that marijuana should be just as legal as alcoholic drinks since no one wants the likable Grace and Matthew punished. Dr. Bamford and Matthew smoke dope regularly, and as the film progresses, the whole town buzzes in giddy behavior after sampling the crop. Although Grace's first smoke makes her euphoric, she has a terrible hangover the next day. Two elderly shopkeepers drink hemp tea and become so high they can't do anything but giggle at customers. Along with frequent drug use, the film has an abundance of vulgar language, including 15 obscenities and a few regular profanities. Matthew and his girlfriend live together and are shown in bed once, with sex implied. When Grace meets her husband's former mistress, they compare notes about his sexuality, and eventually the two become good friends. Credible acting and a clever plot are not enough to rescue SAVING GRACE's sympathetic treatment of illegal drug use that devastates so many lives.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Fine Line Features, 888 Seventh Ave., 19th Flr., NY, NY 10106

Summary
Crude Language: Few (2) times Mild 1, moderate 1
Obscene Language: Many (15) times - F-word 8, s-word 5, other 2
Profanity: Several (6) times Regular 3 (C-sake 1, J 2), Exclamatory 3
Violence: Once Moderate (woman slaps man)
Sexual Intercourse: None; Implied once (unmarried couple kissing in bed)
Nudity: Once (brief rear view of nude man running across yard)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Once (women compare man's sexual behavior)
Drug Abuse: Many times (smoking dope condoned, growing hemp for personal and commercial use; negotiations with drug dealer)
Other: Loyalty causes town to overlook illegal activity
Running Time: 94 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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