Projections - Movie Reviews

Saving Grace Saving Grace

Brenda Blethyn makes the often hilarious jointed venture called Saving Grace into an unlikely harvest of laughs due to what had been planted early on in the script.

But really it shouldn't matter too much because this highly infectious U.K. comedy is a stoned delight with its no nonsense approach.  Those with an inclination to British comedy of nearly a half century ago will enjoy the emotional sides of Blethyn's lead character, a housewife and horticulturist, Grace Trevethan.

Filmed primarily in Cornish locations that gaze in on Grace's coastal hamlet by lensing director John de Borman, Nigel Cole's debut film also boasts a pop soundtrack which adds to the high times.

In a performance that satisfies nearly as much as in Secrets & Lies and Little Voice, Blethyn's Grace is oblivious of business affairs and when her husband falls or maybe jumps without a parachute, the blithe, amateur entrepreneur learns bad news about her husband.  A solicitor shows her debts, incurred from instant wealth ventures that liquidated their savings.  Down 300,000 pounds, her manor will be foreclosed to creditors if she doesn't come up with that enormous sum.

A Scottish gardener, Matthew, a witty Craig Ferguson, gets her green thumb interested in his raising of cannabis for personal use.  The soon to be financially dependent Matthew hooks up with the depleted Grace to transform an orchid hothouse into an indoor pot pasture.

The closely knit townspeople figure out their scam, including Matthew's lovely pregnant girlfriend, Nicky (Valerie Edmond), a fishing boat captain, first seen in an eye catching dress at the funeral of Grace's husband.  Also, Martin Clunes' Dr. Bambford is a frank fellow who periodically pleasures himself with a toke.  Other citizens can't help but notice the illuminations nightly at Grace's incandescent hothouse.

Ferguson also does double duty as a co-writer with producer Mark Crowdy, and they've come up with a savory, pungent story that gets attention from local officer (Ken Campbell) and the deceptive toughness of a French drug czar, well played by Tcheky Karyo.

Although the plotting of a tyro pot farmer could be a big reason to see Saving Grace it has some subordinate charming oddities that underline Cole's friendly touch with his cast.

Cole and his writers rather suddenly show a side of this atypical farmer that conveniently keeps Saving Grace from being uprooted.  However, Blethyn keeps turning Grace brighter and more pleasuring, easily stepping though unstable terrain, with an unexpected depth that belies the character's name.  And she does it with flair enjoying her product for the first time or dealing with someone from her husband's extramarital life.

Saving Grace

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