States of Grace :: Richard Dutcher


This movie put me in a very contemplative mood. That’s a good thing–it’s something I enjoy. I can’t really put my finger on just what makes me feel this way, or even describe too well the feeling itself. It comes from considering questions of life and death, right and wrong, love and all that other stuff. You know, the little things. It’s a mood where things like traffic and dishes suddenly become unimportant. But about the movie…

The movie presents you with a situation; you observe it, try and understand it, and inevitably come to a number of conclusions about it. We judge the actions and the characters involved. But then you are presented with a new situation, which forces you to reevaluate your previous conclusions. This happens a number of times throughout the film as it weaves together quite a variety of personalities and walks of life.

The parallels between events unfolding at the same time in different locations–such as one eye closing while another eye opens–was pretty neat, if sometimes a bit forced.

And of course there was a moral–and a good moral at that. “You don’t have to die for your own sins. I think someone else has already done that.” Well done. The moral was, if not seamlessly, at least skillfully woven through the lives of the different characters and into the fabric of twenty-first century Santa Monica.

There was so much unfolding of the story (with quite a few surprises) that I would like to see this movie again, knowing now what’s going to happen, to watch more for the parallels, the meanings, and the implications of the events. And there are quite a few–you know, life and death, right and…

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