Savage Grace (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/10/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

Patchy, but nonetheless watchable drama with some genuinely shocking moments and a superb performance from Julianne Moore.

What's it all about?
Based on the true story of the Baekeland family (heirs to the Bakelite plastics fortune), Savage Grace stars Julianne Moore as aspiring socialite Barbara Baekeland, whose fractious relationship with her husband Brooks (Stephen Dillane) is not improved by the birth of their son, Tony. As they move from Paris to the Mediterranean, Tony (first Barney Clark, then Eddie Redmayne) grows increasingly close to his mother, eventually maturing into a sexually confused young man who has relationships with both a beautiful Spanish girl (Elena Anaya as Blanca) and a local bit of rough (Unax Ugalde).

However, things get considerably worse when Brooks runs off with Blanca, leaving Barbara to shack up with her bisexual society walker (Hugh Dancy), who's also attracted to Tony.

The Good
Julianne Moore is superb as Barbara, who's described early on as almost a movie star and is accordingly shot without age make-up throughout, even though the story spans almost thirty years. Redmayne isn't bad either and his seemingly perpetually sneering face is put to good use here.

Director Tom Kalin includes some terrific scenes, some of which are genuinely shocking – indeed, this is the sort of film where it pays to know as little as possible going in, for maximum shock value. Other, less shocking highlights include: Redmayne flirting simultaneously with Anaya and Ugalde on a beach and having considerably more chemistry with one than with the other, and a terrific scene where Barbara confronts Brooks and Blanca in an airport.

The Bad
The main problem is the patchy screenplay, which constantly leaps forward to different times and places without anything particularly dramatic happening – at least, not until the last 25 minutes or so. Similarly, it's hard to really sympathise with any of the main characters and the film fails to make an emotional impact as a result.

Worth seeing?
Savage Grace isn't as moving as it should have been, but it's still worth seeing for Julianne Moore's terrific performance.

Film Trailer

Savage Grace (18)
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Content updated: 16/07/2018 01:57

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