Sunday, September 27, 2009

'Grace' under pressure

Once again, an independent film has broken down barriers and come up with a totally different and original concept. Yeah, babies gone bad has been done before, sure. But not like this.

Grace was originally a multiple award-winnning short (1996). Reaping enough money to produce a full-length feature, this disturbing film is the result.

Madeline (Jordan Ladd, who I must say is looking much rougher around the edges than her character in Cabin Fever) and Michael (Stephen Park) have been trying to have a baby for awhile. They've used fertility drugs and have suffered through two miscarriages already.
So when Madeline has the misfortune of being in a car accident, it's really no surprise to learn the baby has died in utero.

Hubby Michael also died in the same accident, and the now completely disillusioned Madeline decides to wait out the three weeks left in her pregnancy and deliver the baby stillborn.

, when she delivers using a midwife (Samantha Ferris) -who incidentally is an old friend and still has a strange crush on Madeline- the midwife, Patty, tries to take the seemingly dead baby from Madeline's arms. It is only then that you learn the baby is alive and nursing from her elated mother. Madeline names her Grace.
(Good thing, too - I mean, how stupid would the title 'Bertha' be?).

As if this isn't already weird enough...Madeline's mother-in-law Vivian (Gabrielle Rose), grieving over the loss of her son, has some mommy issues of her own. Let's just say it involves a breast pump, some strange sexual preferences, and a plot to remove Grace from her daughter-in-law's supposedly inadequate care.

Back at the ranch - Madeline begins to notice flies gathering in Grace's room. That and a very bad stench eminating from the child. Grace is becoming increasingly fussy as well, unable to tolerate her mother's milk. One night when nursing, Madeline is shocked to realize Grace has actually bitten her breast and is soothed by drinking the blood.

Madeline, quickly losing her grip with reality, morphs into severe mommy mode, doing anything - from becoming anemic herself to lining up victims to procure blood from - to attend to the nutritional needs of her daughter.

This flick is all kinds of weird. But you just can't stop watching. I've heard a thousand times about the bond between a mother and her child. But this puts a whole new spin on it.

To quote American author Anne Lamott: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us."

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