Grace (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Grace is a 2009 film written and directed by Paul Solet. It is based on the 2006 short film with the same title that featured Liza Weil and Brian Austin Green. The short film was used to obtain funding for the feature version.

Michael Matheson (Stephen Park) and his pregnant wife Madeline (Jordan Ladd) are involved in a car accident. Michael dies, and doctors tell Madeline that her unborn child is dead, too. Madeline, desperate after trying to have a child for years, decides to carry her baby to term anyway. The child, a girl, initially appears stillborn. After a while, though, she seems to revive, and Madeline names her "Grace". It soon becomes clear something is wrong with the baby. It develops unhealthy smells, attracts flies, and craves blood.

Madeline's beliefs in concepts like veganism and midwifery alienate Vivian Matheson, her mother-in-law, who eventually goes to great lengths to take the baby away from Madeline. There are allusions to feminist concepts and women's studies throughout the movie and several scenes focus around breast feeding and female biology. Some scenes portray a tender mother-daughter relationship while others involve erotic lactation and cannibalism.

Plot

The film opens with a dispassionate sex scene as Michael and Madeline attempt to conceive. It is soon apparent that they have succeeded. Michael's parents arrive for dinner: a vegan meal prepared by a now visibly pregnant Madeline. Michael's domineering mother Vivian grimaces at the food and suggests - in a passive aggressive fashion - that a more conventional diet would be healthier for the unborn baby. The conversation turns to the couple's unsuccessful search for a suitable obstetrician. Madeline has rejected Vivian's preferred doctor and friend, Dr. Sohn. Instead she has decided to consult Patricia, her old friend and midwife at an independent clinic. Vivian does not hide her disapproval. Though Michael is also skeptical, the couple visit the clinic for a tour. They meet with Patricia, who describes her natural approach to birthing. Madeline reveals that she and Michael have conceived twice before, but the pregnancies were not successful.

One night Michael rushes Madeline to the hospital because of chest pain. Dr. Sohn arrives at Vivian's request. Just before he administers drugs to induce labor, Patricia arrives. She challenges his diagnosis and determines through blood work (which he has ignored) that inducement is not necessary. Madeline is treated and later released. On the way home from the hospital, a car accident kills both Michael and the unborn baby.

Madeline refuses to go to the hospital to have the dead fetus removed. Patricia allows Madeline to carry the dead fetus to term and some weeks later the baby is delivered in Patricia's birthing tub. Although apparently stillborn, Madeline is left alone with the baby and pleads for her to live. Moments later, Patricia returns to reason with Madeline, but suddenly the baby is miraculously alive. Overjoyed, Madeline names the baby Grace.

Patricia later visits Madeline at home, bringing gifts for Grace. She encourages Madeline to take Grace to the hospital for tests to help understand how she was revived. Citing her recent experience with Dr. Sohn, Madeline refuses any involvement with conventional medicine. It becomes apparent that the two women are not merely old friends, but were romantically involved in the past. As Patricia reaches out to stroke Madeline's face, Madeline pushes her away. Patricia leaves, upset by this rejection.

As Madeline, now completely alone, cares for Grace she tries to ignore strange problems she encounters. She resorts to hanging fly paper in the nursery because Grace is attracting more and more flies. She is horrified when brushing Graces head results in clumps of hair falling out. She is unable to rid the house of a putrid smell and soon realizes that Grace is the source, though her diaper is not soiled. She decides to bathe her, but Grace's skin begins to bleed in the bath water. Madeline tries to contact Patricia for help, but can only reach the clinic's answering machine and Patricia's jealous girlfriend, who does not pass on her messages. Madeline checks Grace for a fever, but the reading is Template:Convert. She discards the thermometer, believing it is malfunctioning. After attempts at feeding Grace end with vomiting, Madeline begins to realize that the baby is unable to digest breast milk at all.

Several scenes are inter-cut showing Vivian's anguish at Michael's death and her pathological relationship with her husband. Vivian wants to visit the baby and attempts to call Madeline on the phone, but she will not answer. She visits Dr. Sohn and convinces him to visit Madeline to collect evidence that she is an unfit mother. She intends to gain custody and raise Grace herself.

Madeline discovers that Grace's nursing is causing her breast to bleed. She soon realizes that the child is no longer nursing, but feeding on her blood. She buys raw beef, drains the blood, and is able to get Grace to drink it from a bottle. While disposing of the leftover meat outside, she almost catches Patricia spying on her from her car. She returns indoors to discover Grace has become violently sick, and she vomits up the cow's blood, leaving Madeline no choice but to continue to feed Grace from her own bleeding breast. Each feeding becomes more gruesome and Madeline begins to become dangerously weak.

Madeline is so sick and distraught that she allows Dr. Sohn. into her home when he calls at her door. He examines her, explains that she is anemic, and instructs her to refrain from nursing for a few days. After hearing Grace cry, he climbs the stairs looking for her and dials Vivian's number on his cell phone. Fearing that he will take Grace away from her, Madeline hits Dr. Sohn on the back of the head, killing him, but not before his call reaches Vivian's phone. Seeing Dr. Sohn's blood gather into a puddle on the floor, Madeline forms a desperate notion.

Vivian arrives and enters the unlatched door just as Madeline finishes draining blood from Dr. Sohn's arm into a baby bottle. Vivian notices the unkempt state of the house, remarks at Madeline's sick appearance, and become suspicious. She agrees to leave, but instead sneaks upstairs. She finds Grace in her crib, and the bottle of Dr. Sohn's blood broken on the floor. Madeline hears her and climbs the stairs, but Vivian is able to grab Grace and sneak into the bathroom. While seeking a place to hide she discovers Dr. Sohn's body. She arms herself with a hammer and sneaks down the stairs with Grace. Madeline finds and confronts her before she can leave the house, and the two struggle.

Meanwhile, Patricia has realized that her girlfriend was lying and hiding Madeline's messages. She arrives at the house to find Madeline severely wounded by hammer blows and bleeding on the floor. Vivian, still clutching Grace, is also bleeding severely; Madeline was able to bite her viciously on the neck during the struggle.

The final sequence reveals Patricia driving a motor home over a deserted stretch of road. She pulls over and moves to the back of the RV to check on Madeline and Grace. Both women have disguised their appearance by changing their hair or donning wigs. Patricia asserts that medical tests have confirmed Grace is as healthy as she looks. As long as Madeline keeps eating the proper diet, they can continue feeding and raising Grace. Patricia is concerned about something else, however. Grace is growing, and she has began teething. She pulls up her shirt to reveal that quite a large chunk of her breast has been chewed off.

Cast

Reception

The reviews for this film have been mostly positive, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it an overall rating of 68% on the fresh meter. It has been said that during a screening of this film at Sundance, two viewers apparently fainted during some of the movie's more tense scenes.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Grace (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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