Gracie Bowen (Carly Schroeder) is the only girl in a close knit family of three brothers. Their family life revolves around soccer; her father Bryan (Dermot Mulroney) and brothers are obsessed with the game. Her mother (Elisabeth Shue) tolerates it for the sake of the family. When tragedy strikes and Gracie's older brother Johnny (Jesse Lee Soffer) is killed in a car accident, Gracie's goal is to be allowed to play on the boy's soccer team.
Review by Louise Keller:
A gutsy performance by Carly Schroeder is the high point of this likeable story about a girl with a dream. Schroeder is terrific as Gracie, the young girl determined to be accepted in the boy's soccer team when her older brother is killed in a car crash. It might come as a surprise to learn that the story is inspired by events in the family of actress Elisabeth Shue who in the 70s was passionate about soccer and aspired to compete in a boys' world. Here Shue plays Gracie's mother, her brother Andrew plays the role of assistant coach and husband David Guggenheim directs. Despite it being a family affair, there is little chance the film will be dismissed as a vanity project. It is executed with great sincerity as Gracie digs deep and finds a soccer field full of courage as she pursues her dreams.
"Wait till you're ready; you can do anything," Gracie's brother Johnny (Jesse Lee Soffer) tells her as she is lining up to kick the ball. But the tragedy of Johnny's death is not something that is easy to deal with, especially as Gracie doesn't share the same close relationship that he did with their father (Dermot Mulroney). It doesn't matter that we know where the story is heading, the way it evolves is involving and moving as Gracie struggles to beat the physical and emotional challenges. "If you want to limit yourself that's fine, but don't let other people do it for you," Gracie's mother tells her when she starts to doubt herself. 'You're committing social suicide: only lesbians play soccer,' her best friend says. But ultimately, Gracie makes her own decisions as she starts training in earnest - jogging, doing weights, kicking balls at all hours.
Then it's time for a try out, but nothing comes easy. There are obstacles every inch of the way, including resentful boys on the soccer team, ready to play dirty. Although the film is about soccer, it is not really a sports film, but one about passion. There are many moving moments, like the scene in which Gracie symbolically lets the caged bird fly for the first time. We are rooting for Gracie all the way, and although you will need to see the film to find out whether or not she achieves her goals, her perceptions and those of the people around her change. An uplifting and engaging film for anyone who has ever had a dream.
Special features include two featurettes (Bringing Gracie To Life; Gracie-Life Lessons in Sport), a director's commentary plus theatrical trailer.
Published November 6, 2008
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GRACIE: DVD (PG)
CAST: Jesse Lee Soffer, Carly Schroeder, Andrew Shue, Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Shue, Karl Girolamo, Vasilios Mantagas, Donny Gray, Emma Bell, Christopher Shand
PRODUCER: Davis Guggenheim, Andrew Shue, Elisabeth Shue, Lemore Syvan
DIRECTOR: Davis Guggenheim
SCRIPT: Lisa Marie Petersen, Karen Janszen
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Chris Manley
EDITOR: Elizabeth Kling
MUSIC: Mark Isham
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dina Goldman
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; captions for the audio impaired, descriptive narration for the vision impaired
SPECIAL FEATURES: Two featurettes (Bringing Gracie To Life; Gracie-Life Lessons in Sport), a director's commentary plus theatrical trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: October 9, 2008
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