Grace and Gravity (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

While on a business trip in the United Kingdom, an American man takes a photography hike only to be shocked by a man waiting on a bridge who intends to jump to his death. The American decides to awkwardly climb up the impossibly tall bridge with no other way to get on it, for he intends to share the Gospel with the British man before he ends it all. However, the American doesn’t know what he’s in for as the two men embark on the longest quasi-philosophical debate involving Bruce Marchiano since the original Encounter film.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Since it has very limited sets, locations, and props, Grace and Gravity doesn’t make any major mistakes in the production category, but it doesn’t make any waves either. Video quality and audio quality are both fine accordingly, yet the soundtrack is very generic. Camera work is also adequate, but the presence of weird technological sound effects and other cheap elements put a drag on things. To cap things off, the editing is very basic and almost non-existent, which essentially gives us an average production.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Did we really need another film that’s basically a long-winded conversation between Bruce Marchiano and another person? It’s bad enough that this movie is full of forced dialogue and long, drawn-out portions, but there’s hardly anything to this so-called plot. It’s intent on kicking the can down the road by wasting time as it grasps for content and produces menial flashbacks that give us little insight into character motive. While there are some slight attempts at talking about real issues, they come off as inadequate and empty. This idea is awkwardly forced to be something it’s not as there are a handful of totally dead scenes, which makes the story very fruitless as it slogs on. Further, the worldview is bit odd, and the ending sequence is highly unusual and unrealistic. In summary, with no characters to work with in a character-based plot, we’re left with a lame attempt to do something (not sure what).

Acting Quality (0 points)

With only two main cast members, they carry the weight of the film. Unfortunately, they fumble the ball often. While Marchiano is slightly better than past roles, his delivery still comes off as overly theatrical and practiced. The acting as a whole is very stilted and cardboard. There are too many scenes of only one or two cast members doing all the talking, and there are some cringe-worthy sequences of painfully forced emotions. In the end, this rounds out a very disappointing effort that had little going for it.

Conclusion

Grace and Gravity really is just another version of The Encounter, just without an obvious Jesus character. It seems like Bruce Marchiano always includes his contract that he needs a certain amount of speaking time in the film, including a hefty imparting of wisdom (see The Encounter 2 and Alison’s Choice). To many audiences, this delivery of content will be very off-putting and appear purposeless. There just isn’t anything substantial for this film to offer beyond half-baked philosophical explorations that do little to relate to the struggles of real people.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

For Love’s Sake [2013] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When Mary Walker’s husband dies in a car wreck, she begins to sink deeper and deeper into depression and suicide attempts.  She eventually loses custody of her two sons, even though she refuses to allow her atheist in-laws to take care of them.  They are instead sent to a Christian children’s home that quickly becomes the center of controversy, due to the suicide of one of the children there.  But the Walker family forges a relationship with a Christian therapist that gives them a ray of hope for the future.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

It is hard to comprehend why For Love’s Sake was funded or created.  With very poor video quality and unprofessional camera work, this film looks like it was made in the time period it is portraying.  Audio quality is no better, including a cheap soundtrack.  The sets and locations also look cheap and the entire movie has a feeling of being dark and grey.  The editing is very amateur, with many wasted scenes and missing pieces of the plot.  Unfortunately, there is really nothing good to say here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

As previously mentioned, tons of content happen off screen, as the budget was clearly too low to include complex scenes.  The entire storyline has an unhealthy obsession with suicide and an incorrect portrayal of mental illness.  The plot is very melancholy and depressing itself, and sometimes downright creepy.  There are some disturbing scenes that we don’t consider to be family friendly.  Besides all this, some of the characters are atheist strawmen and all the characters have very forceful and annoying dialogue.  There is no way to appreciate the struggles of these characters—they are all wooden and dark.  While it is commendable to address mental illness in film, this is not the way to do it.

Acting Quality (0 points)

As with the rest of the film, the cast members are drab, dank, and dour.  They are either cold and unfeeling or so depressing that they make you feel depressed yourself.  As they mire in the slough of despond, line delivery is all wrong.  The costuming and makeup is also low budget.  In summary, this is another one of those zero-point slogs.

Conclusion

Mental illness needs to have its cultural stigmatism removed from it, and film is a good tool to do this with.  However, For Love’s Sake is the example of how not to portray mental illness.  This film only reinforces stereotypes and paints the mentally ill as weird and unfixable.  Besides that, it also puts more salt on the wound between Christians and atheists by making atheists out to be horrible people.  Everything about this movie is just all wrong and the one consolation is that it’s likely no one will ever watch it.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points