Gracie: Like a Distaff Rocky in Cleats

In what could be construed as a very expensive home movie, the Shues (siblings Elisabeth and Andrew, of the proud glares and somewhat less reliable acting ability) rally to tell the story of how soccer saved a family in the wake of an eldest son's death. Directed by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), Gracie draws on several aspects of Shue family history, including the death of their older brother and Elisabeth's determination to play soccer with the boys growing up in New Jersey in the '70s. The title character (Carly Schroeder) idolizes older brother and soccer star Will, whose death sends her family, particularly father and coach (a valiant Dermot Mulroney), into a tailspin. Gracie's dream is to play on her brother's soccer team and score the big goal for him, but the men (and The Man) have other ideas. Firing on all formulaic cylinders, Gracie is heavy with tidy meaning and mealy morality; the most dubious idea here is that if you don't let a girl play soccer, she just may turn to cigarettes, halter tops, and sex with the starting forward. MICHELLE ORANGE

 
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