Films based on Christian literature can fall into one of two categories. They either become a new favorite or a disappointment (usually thanks to production quality). After hearing good reports about this movie, I’m taking the risk, picking up a copy and crossing my fingers.  

Grace Unplugged (2013) Film Review 

Grace Trey (AJ Michalka) has a big voice. She’s raised in a church where, by her now-retired rocker father’s side, she leads the weekly worship portion of the service. Only trouble is, now she’s eighteen, the two of them clash over how to arrange the songs. Grace has her own contemporary vision for them and her father Johnny Trey (James Denton) wants them as traditional praise songs. This drives a wedge between the two. When her father’s former manager returns, looking to revive Johnny’s career, Grace desperately uses this attempt to seize a chance to get his attention.

‘GRACE UNPLUGGED’ (2013). Unhappy with her life, a teen girl uses her father's former musical connections to launch her own career. Text © Rissi JC

Her cover impresses Frank (Kevin Pollock) and one phone call later, Grace is on a plane to L.A. with a bright future ahead. What she didn’t realize was the flurry she would stir in the media. Grace is no longer a small town nobody, now she has a spotlight with her name on it, and the fame – and constant attention – that comes with it is nothing like she expected.

Going back to when she was a “Disney Kid,” I have seen lots of AJ Michalka’s (and her sister) work. Now, “all grown up” with a new musical sound and film roles that are far edgier, this is the first film I’ve seen AJ in since she departs from her clean girl image. Fortunately, even though Grace Unplugged adopts a more grown up persona, it does so without crossing lines. Original or not, I love this story. There’s a lot of “growing up” for this character. The progression of it happens in an organic way that doesn’t seem to “force” anything. There’s just that something special that’s hard to pin down because it’s got a light all its own; it’s not preach but still hits all the right notes.  

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‘GRACE UNPLUGGED’ (2013). Unhappy with her life, a teen girl uses her father's former musical connections to launch her own career. Text © Rissi JC

I’m not sure how many people will easily relate to this, but the story has a great deal of truth. Grace causes a splash in the music industry and is popular for those infamous 15 minutes, but she soon learns her aspiration is more of a burden. It’s a very character-driven script though primarily, at its heart, it’s about a father and daughter. Perhaps this is where it will “hit home” most. Right or wrong, seeing how the rift heals between them is beautiful. It isn’t so much because of a decision made for Grace as it was a choice made by her that makes the end and journey the sweetest part. 

For anyone who enjoys Christian films that don’t fall into the same traps, this is a movie for you to look into. Everyone is stellar, and it’s a lovely reminder of all that we can achieve or learn if we’re true; and in today’s world, that is sometimes a hard albeit valuable lesson to learn. Plus, this has, the cutest ending that caps off the entire experience beautifully.  

 You can find Grace Unplugged digitally on Amazon Video

Content: there are some minor innuendoes when a girl overhears her boyfriend planning to get her into bed later that night [devastated, she leaves him behind]. There is the disrespect and back talking to parents when Grace makes plans to leave. The film is PG.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Nice review! I knew about this one for some time, back before it was in theaters. When the library got it I knew I wanted to see it. I rented it, watched it, and was pleased with it. And I agree, the ending was so cute! :-D I I'm not opposed to Christian films which have acting that isn't up to Hollywood standards- just as long as it has a good message and story- but I agree that the acting in this one was pretty good.

    1. Thanks for reading. I'm glad we're in agreement about this one – it was really a nice story and that's part of the reason I loved it. :)

      I don't disagree with you, Grace; if the story is a good payoff, that's what counts, but I've seen some films with horrible acting (or even bad production) and when it's so bad, right or wrong, it seems to affect the whole picture. No matter what, Grace Unplugged is one of the good ones, and it'll be a film to revisit. :)

  2. I'm generally not a fan of so-called Christian films because of their knack for poor writing and acting, but this one surprised me. :)

    1. Same here, Jennifer! This one certainly surprised me and because of that, it's one that has become a favorite. So sweet and happy and really good! :)

  3. I was so worried that this would be another Christian film that just didn't do it for me… Thankfully, I was wrong!! I loved this one too, Rissi. AJ played her part really well. I'm sure she experienced at least some of Grace's feelings in her personal rise to fame. Great review!

    1. *high five* Same here, Rosie! I was cautiously optimistic going into it, and my entire family loved it. I'm so glad because often Christian films don't reach their potential. This one did. AJ did a lovely job, and I agree; she probably could pour some of her own emotions into this role because of her fame.

      Thanks for reading! :)

    1. Cool. Hope you enjoy both, Joanne. I didn't read the book, though the film is really sweet and has some important things to so. :)

      Thanks for dropping by. :)

  4. I remember hearing about this when it came out! It sounds really cute, and I can definitely relate. Though I certainly never pursued music professionally, when I'm home from school (and in high school), I sing with my dad in the praise band at my church. It hits home! I will definitely have to find a copy of this and check it out, especially since you liked it so much! :)

    1. That's really cool, Rachel – I didn't know that about you, and yes, you would be able to relate to this story. It's done very well whereas some Christian films just don't "click" and I'm glad it seemed to get a wider release than most. If/when you see it, let my know what you think. :)

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Rissi! I remember seeing the book in my local bookstore and I wanted to see the movie but later forgot about it. This sounds really sweet and I'm glad to hear this Christian film lived up to its potential. I will definitely make sure to check it out!

    1. I did indeed, Jillian… and I hope if you ever see it, you enjoy.

      It's one of the few Christian films that actually seemed to "work" well enough. Good as the messages always are, and I know the filmmakers heart is in the right place, sometimes due to limited budgets or what-have-you, a small movie just doesn't live up to its potential. This one seemed to be above that, and because of that – and its sweet father/daughter relationship, I was sold. :)

  6. How did I miss this one?! I have been curious about this movie for a while, wondering if I should give it a shot since some Christan films can be…strange, for lack of a better word.

    Glad to see you liked it! I will definitely check this one out. Thanks for the great review! :)

    1. You said it right, Bekah. Some Christian films are definitely strange. They just don't have the same kind of quality as blockbusters. This one is sort of Hallmark-like in its style.

      Hope you enjoy it as well if/when you see it. :)

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