Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Music Helps Make `Grace' Gratifying

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Music Helps Make `Grace' Gratifying

Article excerpt

Few things in pop culture bring as much instant gratification

as a perfect three-minute pop song. Grace of My Heart knows

that, so it gives us some 20 of those songs, capturing the music

that rang out of thousands of AM radios from 1958 to 1970.

The songs are new, canny musical collaborations from seemingly

mismatched older and newer songwriters ( Elvis Costello and Burt

Bacharach? Yes! Yes! Yes!). The tunes weren't around to be hits

back then, but they could've been. All of them.

They're the backdrop for this uneven, proudly melodramatic

story of a rich girl named Edna Buxton (Illeana Douglas), a

songwriter who dreams of singing her own songs -- but who first

has to get through a succession of bad relationships with men.

Too bad. The men she's saddled with aren't half as interesting

as Edna herself -- or the actress who plays her.

One in particular, an unbalanced surf-music genius (Brian

Wilson, anyone?) played by Matt Dillon, threatens to bring the

last third of this fast-moving film to a halt.

But Douglas (Cape Fear, Search and Destroy, To Die For) gets it

going again. She is terrific: In these ironic, detached times,

she's unaffected, completely open, gobbling up whole scenes like

no one else.

Grace of My Heart is the work of hipster filmmaker Allison

Anders ( Gas, Food, Lodging and Mi Vida Loca ) and it's by far

her most conventional, with more than a few echoes of A Star Is

Born and countless other show-biz movies.

But it still has a basketful of offbeat touches, from its

sometimes-meandering pace to the gangly, totally unconventional

beauty of its star. (What a drag it would have been with someone

like Julia or Demi in her place.)

She's Edna, a Philadelphia heiress hired in the late '50s to

churn out hits in New York's Brill Building, a real-life hit

factory for songwriters, producers and musicians. …

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