I love John Cusack. I’ve been a huge fan since seeing “Class” and of course his bit parts in “16 Candles”, “Stand by me” and other classics like “Better off dead” and “Hot pursuit”. Ok, so the second two aren’t exactly cult favourites but I liked ‘em. I may not have seen everything he’s done but he is someone I could watch and not feel like I’ve wasted my time or money.
A couple of days ago I watched him in another ‘road’ movie. Unlike his first one though – “The Sure Thing” – this wasn’t a quirky comedy/romance movie. “Grace is Gone”, although not a ‘romance’ is a movie about love; at least I believe so.
In the Sure Thing, John’s character “Gib” has to endure the trip with anal-retentive know-it-all Alison (Daphne Zuniga). He’s on his way to his mate Goose’s… umm, Lance’s (sorry, Anthony Edwards will always be Goose for me :-) ) place on the West Coast, so he can hook up with a ‘sure thing’. Of course the trip doesn’t go smoothly and you just know at the end they are going to hook up.
In Grace is Gone, John plays the father of two young girls who’s wife is killed in Iraq. He gets the news and has a meltdown of sorts. When the girls get home from school, rather than tell them about their mother he takes them on a drive that turns in to a 3-4 day road trip. Along the way a couple of events lead the elder daughter to believe something is wrong but she doesn’t ask her father and he doesn’t tell. The youngest daughter is just happy to be on the trip, heading for a fun park. It’s only as they are returning home that he tells them.
I really loved John’s portrayal in this movie. He was so convincing at some parts I just wanted to shake him and tell him to snap out of it whilst in others I just wanted to hug him and tell him it would be ok. It was clear that although he had no plans as to what he was doing, he was determined to give the girls a last piece of happiness before their world was torn apart with the news of their mother’s death.
Was he right to shelter them from the news for as long as he did and in the way he did? Who’s to say? The movie was fictional but of course things like that happen every day, all over the world. People are constantly faced with the ‘will I/won’t I/should I’ dilemma. Is the situation likely to be any easier if it’s dependant on how long or how invested you are in the other person? Would knowing someone a year as opposed to 30 years make delivering devastating news not as traumatic? It all comes down to individuals and the situation I suppose. You might know someone your whole life and not be as connected to them as you are to someone who’s just entered your life.
Anyway, I loved this movie, despite the sadness of the subject matter. Underneath the grief, humour, inner turmoil and meanness there was love. It wasn’t always shown and rarely spoken but I could feel it just from the way the characters interacted or did things. Was this movie a romance? Definitely not but it had just as much love, if not more than your normal rom-com, and that’s good enough for me. Worthy of another look for sure.