I first heard about Grace is Gone back when it played the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award and Best Screenplay. I recall hearing about it on the Filmspotting podcast, where they spoke of how good the film was. I read up a little on it and thought it was a film I wanted to see.
Unfortunately, it never went any wider than seven theaters where it made $50K during its 63-day run, failing to spark much popular interest, thus squashing any thoughts that The Weinstein Company had of rolling it out to the nation. Of course, December at the height of the holiday season was probably not the best time to open such a flagrantly weepy indie film. Although, come to think of it, no matter how good the film may be, it has to be hard to market a film such as this at any time of the year.
Grace is Gone is an independent film from writer/director James C. Strouse. This is his directorial debut and only his second screenplay; he first wrote Lonesome Jim, a film starring Casey Affleck and directed by Steve Buscemi. This film is a quiet, sad look into the life of a man struggling to stay afloat and keep his family together in the wake of a family tragedy that threatens to crumble his entire life around him. The story feels very real, but is a complete fiction with elements drawn from Strouse's own life and research done into military families (revealed in an interview with indieWIRE).
This is a story that tugs at the heartstrings. It may strike some as manipulative, but I do not subscribe to those thoughts. The story is one that has a strongly organic feel as the characters develop out of the situation. Not everything is explained or spelled out; reasons for why things unfold the way they do are not offered. Much of the surrounding details are left to the viewer to fill in.