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Archive for September 24th, 2019

By J.D. Lafrance

Grace of My Heart (1996) is Allison Anders’ unabashed love letter to three decades of popular music, from the doo-wop era of the late 1950’s, to the rise of girl groups in the 1960’s to the psychedelic era of the 1970’s, all seen through the eyes of a female songwriter cast in the mould of Carole King, among others. Anders’ passion project finally gave a substantial role to actress Illeana Douglas who, finally freed from the shackles of numerous supporting character roles over the years, delivers a career-defining performance. Despite the pedigree of having Martin Scorsese as executive producer and the likes of John Turturro and Matt Dillon in supporting roles, Grace of My Heart was not a commercial hit, and was quickly eclipsed by another nostalgic look at popular music from the ‘60s that came out the same year – Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do! (1996), which, incidentally, wasn’t a huge hit either but had much more advertising muscle behind it. For all of its flaws, which include a weak third act, Grace of My Heart is a fascinating look at a time when the craft of writing a good song mattered. It is a film that deserves to be rediscovered.

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