A Girl Like Grace is A Passion Project Gone Horribly Wrong…
Produced by Meagan Good, A Girl Like Grace tells the story of Grace (Ryan Destiny), a high school senior that has spent her whole life dealing with one negative situation after another. To make matters worse, Grace’s best friend Andrea (Paige Hurd) has just committed suicide before the start of her senior year. Now with no one left to rely on, Grace must mentally and physically prepare herself for the next phrase of her life while being constantly reminded of her dark and troubled past.
Somewhere in A Girl Like Grace there is a great and important story to be told. In just 94-minutes, this film attempts to address bullying, suicide, parenting, bad role models, and rape. These topics are not new to cinema and over the past 5-10 years, there have been several films released that have tackled these tough and important subjects.
Unfortunately, Grace is without a doubt one of the weakest teen driven films that I have seen in quite some time. With so many subject matters being looked at, it is truly baffling that somehow none of them amount too much of anything. These issues that Grace faces are universal and ones that thousands of teenagers relate to. It honestly pains me to say this but A Girl Like Grace is not only a mess of a film but one that doesn’t know what it is trying to be or what it is trying say to its audience.As you watch this film, there are moments where you really want to root for Grace. She is a character, as mentioned above, that many can relate to and understand what she is going through. The problem, however, is that the editing, directing, acting, and script all get in the way. It is very rare that I can walk out of a film and say almost everything about the film is bad from the performances to the overall look of the film.
What makes matters worse is that the tone is all over the place. There are several moments where you think that the film is going to have a truly powerful moment, but than randomly shifts gears to a scene like a trip to a porn shop or Raven-Simone doing a cheer about her cherry. There were about four moments in this film that could have been incredibly powerful but unfortunately are lost because no one involved seemed to know what they were doing or how to make these scenes emotionally powerful.
Throughout this film, there are things that happen Grace that shouldn’t be funny but because of the bad acting, poor direction, and horrendous writing my audience couldn’t help but burst out laughing. Sadly, I didn’t find a single thing about this film to humorous because it was just so painful to watch something that it had so much potential, turn out so bad. I could legitimately tell that everyone involved with this film was passionate about it and really wanted to tell a story that would impact many and make a difference. The harsh reality is that no one knew what the tone should be nor did they know how to execute their ideas onto film in an effective manner.Back in January, I saw a film produced and starring Viola Davis that she was incredibly passionate about. That film was Lila & Eve and just like this film it dealt with a serious issue and was poorly executed. The difference between Lila & Eve and A Girl Like Grace however, is that Eve had several “so bad it’s good” moments where there is nothing at all redeeming about Grace. There are a lot of important topics talked about within this story but again are handled so poorly that you don’t give two shits about anything that is happening to any of these characters.
All in all, I feel really bad for not liking A Girl Like Grace but I am always honest about my thoughts and feelings no matter what. At this screening, I met director Ty Hodges and actress/producer Meagan Good. Both were extremely genuine and passionate. I wish I could say that their film moved and touched me but sadly, it did not. If you want to see a film that tells a similar story but is done in a very effective way, I highly recommend watching Precious. Unlike A Girl Like Grace that film tackles a lot of similar issues and themes in a much more effective and powerful way. I really hope that someone sees this film, acknowledges the story that it is trying to tell, and remakes it into something worth watching. I truly believe there is something truly special in this material but what the final product showcased was definitely not it.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for A Girl Like Grace is a 2 out of 10.