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80 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only for Certain Audiences
As it appears, this movie is slammed and praised for the same reason, the personality of the characters and the story. For anyone looking to view this movie be forewarned, this is for certain audiences. If your looking to watch a movie featuring a superficial, generic plot; characters with generic personalities; then this is not the movie for you. It might actually be...
Published on November 14, 2009 by Exile District

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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Moore Tries to Rise Above the Dark Oedipal Corners Between Mother and Son
I don't think I can look at my Bakelite steak knives the same way again, even though the filmmakers don't show a single piece of Bakelite in this 2008 movie. The subject, however, is Barbara Daly Baekeland, the wealthy wife of Brooks Baekeland, grandson of Leo Baekeland, founder of Bakelite plastic. It only becomes pertinent when you realize her son Antony is the heir to...
Published on June 17, 2008 by Ed Uyeshima


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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Moore Tries to Rise Above the Dark Oedipal Corners Between Mother and Son, June 17, 2008
I don't think I can look at my Bakelite steak knives the same way again, even though the filmmakers don't show a single piece of Bakelite in this 2008 movie. The subject, however, is Barbara Daly Baekeland, the wealthy wife of Brooks Baekeland, grandson of Leo Baekeland, founder of Bakelite plastic. It only becomes pertinent when you realize her son Antony is the heir to a major plastics company. Directed by Tom Kalin, a leader in the New Queer Cinema movement, the time-spanning story focuses on the unhealthy co-dependence that seems to have developed since birth between mother and son, a relationship that takes an unsavory turn toward incest and ultimately murder.

Howard A. Rodman's screenplay covers over a quarter-century of the characters' lives beginning in 1946 when a vivacious Barbara dotes on her baby Antony even as she gallivants amid the Manhattan social scene. The story quickly flashes forward to Paris when a precocious, 14-year-old Antony remains devoted to his mother even when she embarrasses him by forcing him to read a passage from de Sade's Justine in front of a small gathering of pretentious socialites. Another seven years pass, and a sexually awakened Antony takes up with a young, pot-smoking Spaniard named Jake, while Barbara has been deserted by her husband Brooks for a younger woman who once bedded Antony. As with many women of her standing, Barbara becomes involved with a gay "walker", Sam, who becomes Barbara's erudite escort. More transgressions occur until we catch up with mother and son living together in London in 1972. The Oedipal machinations come into fruition there leading to the tragic conclusion.

The movie is really an extended exercise in self-loathing spotlighting truly unlikable characters, chief among them the grasping Barbara and the psychologically damaged Antony. The stilted dialogue doesn't help much either. You walk away understanding what would drive Antony to schizophrenia but are given little reason to care what happens. No stranger to mid-century roles (Far from Heaven, The Hours), Julianne Moore is one of our most accomplished actresses, and she manages to etch a powerful portrait of a deeply disturbed and irredeemable woman despite the odds. However, Kalin leaves her stranded in a role that elicits no sympathy. The same fate befalls Eddie Redmayne (The Other Boleyn Girl) as the grown Antony, and his performance becomes a series of limp-wristed mannerisms that remind me a bit of Cillian Murphy's work in Breakfast on Pluto. Stephen Dillane hardly makes an impression as Brooks, but Hugh Dancy (Evening, The Jane Austen Book Club) certainly makes a more convincing "walker" than Woody Harrelson did in The Walker. Except for the always watchable Moore, I say skip it.
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80 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only for Certain Audiences, November 14, 2009
This review is from: Savage Grace (DVD)
As it appears, this movie is slammed and praised for the same reason, the personality of the characters and the story. For anyone looking to view this movie be forewarned, this is for certain audiences. If your looking to watch a movie featuring a superficial, generic plot; characters with generic personalities; then this is not the movie for you. It might actually be better if you look into skimming the book it's based on first, then deciding if the movie is something you'd want to take the time to watch.

The story is dark and at most times twisted. The characters are not likable, their not supposed to be; they are from what could be called the "alleyway" of society. Yes they're rich, but they're also psychologically damaged beyond repair. Their actions are horrid, and their personalities are even worse. Just because the characters are not honorable, generous, or even understandable, doesn't make the movie bad. People like this do actually exist, its just that most of us would greatly try to avoid them. The actors in this movie were excellent. I think Moore did a great job portraying the damaged wife and mother. If your looking to watch something out of the norm, go ahead and give this a try.

Just be warned that this movie is truly, out of the norm.
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49 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Dog Collar: Impact and Consequences, June 29, 2008
By 
SAVING GRACE is screenwriter Howard A. Rodman's adaptation of Natalie Robins and Steven M.L. Aronson's brutally realistic book by the same name of a famous wealthy family's downfall. Director Tom Kalin has previously proved that he can successfully mix biopic with drama ('Swoon'), but alas in this tedious film he fails to make the audience care about any of his characters, despite the fact that he cast this strange collection of edgy types with outstanding actors. In the end, after witnessing an incestuous relationship between mother and son and a subsequent brutal murder, the only moment of tenderness is a very lost boy's need to recover the collar of his childhood dog, long dead but hardly forgotten in the murky soup that has been his life.

Knowing that the story is true adds a bit of intrigue: the family of a plastics mogul is in the third generation: Brooks Baeklande (Stephen Dillane) wallows in his wealth without positively contributing to his family reputation; his wife Barbara (Julianne Moore), a former actress and Feline's salesgirl who marries into wealth only to become obsessed with climbing a ladder that repeatedly betrays her 'class'; their only son Antony (Eddie Redmayne) who moves from his mother's worshipped idol to his father's loathed rival at his being bisexual/gay to a series of affairs - none of which he finds satisfying or fulfilling, especially his ultimate incestuous relationship with his mother. The film runs from 1946 (Antony's birth) to 1972 and the tragic finale and during this time the audience is conducted through the superficial corridors of life among the wealthy and influential people of New York, Paris, London, Cadaques. Along the way we meet some interesting characters, paramours of Antony played by Elena Anaya, the gifted actors Unax Ugalde and Hugh Dancy, and a host of other bit parts who enliven the action or act as stimuli for the crumbling downfall of Barbara Baekeland.

The various periods of time are well captured by cinematographer Juan Miguel Azpiroz who manages to give us the 'superficial beauty' of these empty souls while keeping a safe distance from their degrading antics. The musical score by Fernando Velázquez is always too loud and falls between the cracks of elevator Muzak and takeoffs on Wagner's leitmotifs from 'Tristan und Isolde'.

The major problem with this film is that it is nearly impossible for us to emotionally invest in any of the characters, even as well defined as they are in the hands of such excellent actors. It is this distance that sinks the film, a 'biopic' about rather distasteful folks that offers little insight into the positive aspects of their deranged behavior. Or perhaps that void is what Tom Kalin is striving to depict. It just misses. Grady Harp, June 08
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Julianne Moore Tour de Force, December 28, 2008
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This review is from: Savage Grace (DVD)
"Savage Grace" is the true story of Barbara Daly (Julianne Moore), a would-be actress, artist, and social climber who, in postwar New York, married wealthy Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite fortune. Her drinking, making scenes in public, and adulterous flings made the marriage a living nightmare. She was a smothering mother to her gay son, Tony, and the family lived a dysfunctional love triangle that ended in violence and bloodshed.
This is Moore's film all the way. She conveys a sense of inferiority percolating within, since Barbara did marry well above her social station. She needs constant reassurance that she is loved, and craves social acceptance like a drug. Moore makes a rather unpleasant character interesting. Maybe it's the voyeur effect. We feel we're peeking into a privileged world, seeing all its frayed corners and cracks in close-up. And we're fascinated because it's exotic. Stephen Dillane portrays Brooks and Eddie Redmayne is young Tony. Special Features include a making-of featurette and a mini-documentary on the actual story that inspired the movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't hold my attention!, January 28, 2014
This review is from: Savage Grace (Amazon Instant Video)
Did not finish the movie. It was not one that I wanted to waste my time watching. You can decide for yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a sad not interesting movie, January 27, 2014
By 
I love this actress. The movie is too unpleasant though. She's nuts. Her son is worse. I wouldn't rent it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Savage grace, January 17, 2014
I just love Julianne more but for some reason she didn't do it for me the story was way too boring for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible story line., January 14, 2014
I thought it was a terrible movie. Surprised to see Julianne Moore starring in such a movie as this. Very disappointed in it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars wierd, January 7, 2014
Gross movie.. very disturbing will want to watch something so stupid sorry for my vocabulary but it was.. she is a great actress but this movie put her in a low rate..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars wasn't what I expected, December 20, 2013
I think Julianne Moore was good in this movie. However, it wasn't what I expected. Turned out to be a little too deep for a day off movie. The storyline was a little hard to follow.
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Savage Grace
Savage Grace by Tom Kalin
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