Grace is a 2018 film hidden in the deep recesses of Prime Video. It was directed by a woman so I took a look. I enjoyed this character study of two very different writers who struggled to write.
Grace has a small cast. Charlie (Tate Donovan) is a well-known writer who had a successful book. But he hasn’t written anything new in 17 months. His agent/best friend Bernie (Matthew Lillard) nervously tries to prod him along and get him to write something.
The publisher, Liz (Missi Pyle), threatens to sue for the advance back if pages don’t start coming in.
Enter Dawn (Katie Cassidy). She’s a secret wannabe writer herself. Bernie hires her to go to Charlie’s family home (a mansion he lives in alone) and be his assistant. Dawn is a caustic mouthed, take no crap kind of woman. Bernie hopes she’ll get Charlie to start writing.
Dawn cleans up the place, which is a mess. She talks about books and life and is both irritating and endearing to Charlie.
The majority of the film is just the two of them as we see into their stories, fears, and hopes. Being around each other so much opens both of them up in ways they needed, and they both begin writing. Tate Donovan and Katie Cassidy are both very good actors, and the relationship and chemistry between them is exactly what this story needed.
The writing doesn’t go as smoothly as Bernie hoped it would, and the ending has a nice twist. Grace was written and directed by Devin Adair. Take a look at the trailer and see if you think it looks interesting.
2 responses to “Review: Grace, how writers write”
THE ESSENCE OF BEING A WRITER EXPLORED
Yes, I will watch this if I can find it. I have Prime. I am a writer and an artist. I have published two books so far and am working on ten more simultaneously. I have never had writer’s block or artists block. Concepts flow like water for me. Mental blocks happen to writers and artists because they’ve learned their crafts without learning how to think creatively first. Knowing how to use your creative mind is far, far more important that knowing how to craft one idea into a story. In order to create without hesitancy, It’s best to have to have either a wealth of experience or the knowledge of how to find the essential bone upon which to hang a sequence that can be clothed to ad more sequences.
The Late Winston Churchill was a perfect example of a person with a wealth of experience from which to draw, but he was not writing fiction. Joanne Rowling is an example of an author who seized on a single great idea and rode it home. She didn’t excel in any other genre although she tried.
Jack London and Stephen Leacock were successful writers whose work came from a variety of directions. They crafted ideas from events as they happened in a much tougher literary world where you either wrote by hand or pounded a typewriter with one finger. No spell check or other formatting treasures.
So watching these people fumble about trying to jumpstart something that should be dead easy if done the right way around, is kind of like a perverse form of self-flagellation mixed with a peculiar form of self-delusion. That’s how most people work though.
Where the actual block comes from is fear. Fear of two things: fear of one”s own big black hole of emptiness where the next idea is supposed to be coming from and fear of the unplanned future coupled with the knowledge that if you don’t come up with something, unless you are independently wealthy, you are either going to go bankrupt or be forced to take a humiliating mundane job that you can’t tell anyone about. To do so would be the final embarrassment.
Great ideas can come to odd people and if the person is somewhat competent and has read enough books to understand what make good prose, they can write one best seller. But great ideas don’t generally come in multiples unless you can make a serial out of the first book. Still, first books are generally the best. Subsequent books and movies rarely exceed the first because the author, more so than a visual artist, cannot accidentally create another great work by spilling some paint. Writing is much harder than any other form of artistic expression; because you cannot do it as a career without knowing how to think creatively.
Thank you for bringing this film to my attention.
I’ve been a lifelong Natalie Goldberg writing practice student and never have writer’s block either. But I’m not writing fiction.