The Late Show
USA, 2008, 85 minutes
Fri, May 1 / 11:59 / Kabuki / GRAC01K
Mon, May 4 / 12:30 / Kabuki / GRAC04K
With Nadya Suleman’s extreme maternal cravings all over the news, the shocks and chills of Paul Solet’s debut feature could hardly be timelier—or more disturbing. In Grace, protagonist Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd) isn’t carrying octuplets, but she is bearing the result of three years of fertility drugs. With a history of miscarriages and eight months into her current pregnancy, Madeline and her husband are doing all they can to ensure a healthy child—soy milk, tempe, a trusted midwife. Tragedy strikes the hopeful mom, however, rendering the baby dead in her womb. Determinedly, she carries the child to term—and wills the newborn to life. But, as little Grace develops cravings for “special food,” matters take a much darker turn. Madeline’s mother-in-law starts making demands, an evil doctor enters the picture and flies start appearing around the crib. As Solet ratchets up the tension, he also broadens the scope of the film to make compassionate but critical points about maternal desperation. The images are full of shadows and mired in gloom as Madeline keeps her house in low light and shuns visitors and friends. Ladd, meanwhile, sharply conveys Madeline’s acceptance of her predicament and unconditional love for her child. There is a history of horror movies involving pregnancy and wicked kids, but Grace references Cronenberg and Polanski more than It’s Alive. Solet’s discomfiting film makes one actually question human desire for procreation, when the result could be a creature as demanding as Grace.
Presented in association with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. West Coast Premiere.