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.
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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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.