Starring Carly Schroeder, Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Shand, Karl Girolamo, Julia Garro, John Doman, Jesse Lee Soffer, Vasillios “Billy” Mantagas, Donnie Gray and Andrew Shue.
Screenplay by Karen Janszen and Lisa Marie Petersen.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim.
Distributed by Picturehouse Films. 95 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Gracie is very much a labor of love.
Put together by acting siblings Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Adventures in Babysitting) and Andrew Shue (Melrose Place), directed as the first fictional film of her documentarian husband, Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) — it is a celluloid tribute to the Shues’ late brother who died when they were younger.
The film is loosely based on their experiences growing up and playing soccer (sorry, football for our readers outside of the United States) in the suburbs of North Jersey. The main character of Gracie has its seeds in Elisabeth’s late 70s fight to be a part of the local high school’s boys soccer team. (She eventually moved on to acting, becoming a movie star with The Karate Kid in 1984). Elisabeth Shue now plays the character based on her mother. Andrew — who also grew up around the team — plays a sympathetic coach.
Of course, good intentions do not always translate to a good movie. Luckily, Gracie IS a good movie. A very good movie, in fact. It’s not exactly the most original storyline out there — in fact in many ways it is a treads the same ground as most sports-themed films ever made — but it is filmed with conviction and passion and makes its points with economy and style.
It also has as a strong anchor in a star-making (or at least it should be) performance by Carly Schroeder as Gracie, a young girl in the late 70s who idolizes her older brother. When he is killed in an auto accident the day after missing a shot in the big game, Gracie is determined to take his place on the team.
Dermot Mulroney gives and understated supporting turn as her father — who never quite believes in Gracie as much as he does his boys. Still, he is a loving if not always thoughtful parent, and in the end he tries to have her back and help her capture her dreams.
Gracie is not going to change the world or shock many people, but there is a place in the world for a nice little film to tell small, compelling stories about finding our dreams.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 16, 2007.