When a high school class is given the decision to vote for a ‘popular’ girl for homecoming queen or a Grace, a girl with Down’s syndrome, the latter wins in a shocking upset. One of the ‘popular’ girl’s friends, Cara, accidentally befriends Grace and her friend Brandon as they try to find Grace a partner for the homecoming dance. Cara finds herself torn as her ‘popular’ friends try to ostracize Grace and as she begins developing feelings for Brandon. In the end, the entire school will be faced with the reality that special need people are just like everyone else and they should be treated thus.
Production Quality (1.5 points)
With an obviously limited budget, Touched by Grace sometimes does the best it can with what it has, but other times it does not. The sets are quite limited, but this is not entirely a negative issue due to the small scale plot. They are realistic, which is important. The camera work and video quality are quite good for a production this small. The soundtrack is average; we would have liked to see more here. There is much positive to say about this small time production, but the biggest issue is the editing. There is virtually no editing present in Touched by Grace. Too many scenes are long and drawn out, making for a disappointing experience. All in all, there are both positive and negative aspects to this film, which is very frustrating.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)
There was so much potential in this movie. It’s based on a great idea and has believable elements. It could have been very touching had more time been spent on character development. Sometimes the dialogue is meaningful, and other times it’s not. There is far too much understatement in this film; sometimes things happen for no reason. A common mistake in Christian film is overstating the obvious, but Touched by Grace has the opposite problem. More needed to be emphasized regarding the important issue of treating special needs people as equals. Where this movie could have been heartfelt, it just came off as somber. The main redeeming quality is the effective end that the movie was obviously written for. The end was powerful enough to make this movie something great had the remainder of the plot been adequate. In short, it’s a disappointing plot and one that desperately needs a remake.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
With a largely amateur cast, the actors and actresses sometimes come off as awkward, but other times they shine. Ben Davies as a high school student doesn’t really work and he definitely needed more coaching. On the flipside, the casting of special needs people was a score as they were some of the best cast members. Overall, this cast wasn’t bad, but it could have been a winning cast with better coaching.
Touched by Grace receives half of an x-factor point for presenting an important issue in a semi-meaningful way. Overall, while this movie was sometimes heartwarming, it was also frustrating to watch, knowing just how much potential it could have achieved. This is not one of those Christian productions that has no heart or care behind it. We truly believe that the creators sincerely cared about this issue and wanted to make a movie about it. Their heart was in the right place, but their film inexperience derailed it. Inexperience is probably not their fault either—it’s a tough world out there for independent Christian filmmakers. This is why it’s all the more important for Christians to come together and pool their resources to produce quality over quantity. Just think of what would have happened if two stupid Christian movies were defunded and the money was given to this one.
Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points