Hello people of the internet, on today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to talk about an AMAZING new movie that I recently saw called ‘Grace Unplugged’. This movie has drama, romance, great acting, and phenomenal music. It is inspiring and a film that will charm audiences of all ages (however there are scenes that involve drinking in the film, so parents should be careful when showing this film to young children). I truly believe that this is a film that the whole family can sit down and watch on a weekend nighttogether. ‘Grace Unplugged’ will make you cry, it will make you sing, but most importantly it will make you think. So without further ado, here is my review of ‘Grace Unplugged. Spoiler Alert! The next few paragraphs are a summary of the movie, so if you don’t want to know how it ends, please skip to the last paragraph. Enjoy!!!
‘Grace Unplugged’ tells the story of an 18 year old musician named Grace Trey (AJ Michalka). Grace’s father Johnny Trey (James Denton) was a one-hit wonder who found God after becoming entrenched in extreme alcohol consumption, and the various other pitfalls of stardom. After changing his ways, Johnny devotes his life to playing music for God, and installs this believe in Grace. From a very young age, Grace begins singing, and playing the piano and guitar. Eventually, Grace begins to play in her father’s band, and they travel all over the United States performing and ministering at various churches. The movie begins in Birmingham, AL where the Trey family has been living for 3 years. Although Grace and her father have always played together, they often argue about how the music should be arranged. Johnny wants the music to be played the way he wrote it, and Grace wants the opportunity to come up with her own ideas and style. This difference in opinions begins to cause a deep rift in and Grace’s relationship, which causes to become more protective over Grace and Grace, becomes more rebellious by lying to her parents more often. One day, Johnny’s former manager Frank “Mossy” Mostin comes to town, and informs Johnny that a major record label wants to sign him after his old hit ‘Misunderstood’ goes viral. Johnny declines the offer, so Grace records her own version of the song and sends it to Mossy. She then runs away from home, and goes to Los Angeles to take meetings with Mossy.
Mossy tells her that the record label that wanted to sign Johnny is interested in her, but they want her to record and shoot a video for ‘Misunderstood’ in order to see how the track does before they possibly do more for her. When Johnny and his wife find out that Grace has run away, they become very upset, and Johnny tries in vain to talk Mossy into convincing Grace to come home. Not long after Grace arrives in Los Angeles, Mossy sets up a gig for her, and Grace finds out that the head of the record label will hear her perform. Grace is very nervous to perform in front of her first “bar crowd”, but once she begins to perform, she becomes very comfortable and the crowd goes crazy for her. After the show is over, Grace finds out that Johnny came to the show, and he tries to convince her to come home by questioning her motives for doing what she’s doing. Grace refuses to go home and Johnny goes home heartbroken. Shortly after the gig, Mossy takes Grace to a party with the label head and some of his team, and Grace feels pressured to drink champagne, so she does. Mossy then gives Grace an advance that the label has provided, and she buys herself a car. The label’s team continues to try to change Grace’s image little by little, and Grace begins to give into the temptation of drinking socially with them. One day when Gracie returns to her apartment form the grocery store, she finds the door unlocked, and is startled when she meets Quentin (the label’s image consultant’s intern). Soon after, Mossy tips off a popular magazine to the fact that Grace is going on a date with a famous TV star named Jay. Grace begins to slowly fall in love with Jay, and is further charmed when she receives flowers from Jay in the middle of an interview. Grace continues to go on dates with Jay, and becomes drunk on one of the dates. Jay tries to take her home, but she refuses because of her beliefs, and goes home to her apartment.
A few days later, Grace gets a surprise when her idol Renae Taylor who is on the same record label) shows up at Grace’s music video shoot. Renae and Grace begin to speak about Jay, and Grace is heartbroken when Renae tells her that everyone in Hollywood uses each other to get ahead, and don’t necessarily have any romantic interest in each other. The next day, Grace has drinks with Jay, and discovers that Mossy set the whole thing up, and Jay’s only interest in her is to get publicity. Grace confronts Mossy, but Mossy tells her that she needs to get over it and work on an original song that she is suppose to present to the label. Grace (who has never written a song), feels an overwhelming amount of pressure to write the song, and she copes with this by drinking excessively. Grace overhears some of the label employees talking about her in the restroom, and she has a confrontation with Mossy over the fact that she couldn’t write an original song. Grace’s drinking escalates, until Quentin goes to her apartment, and invites her over to his home to have dinner with his family. When Grace arrives at Quentin’s home, she finds that Quentin’s family is very religious, and Quentin actually found God when Grace and her father played at the church that Quentin’s family attends. Back in Alabama, Johnny views Grace’s music video online, and becomes stricken with grief because he never allowed Grace to develop as an artist and a person. Grace then embarks on a radio tour, and Mossy informs her that due to the fact that her single is doing so well, the label wants to make an album for her. Mossy gives her a song to learn on the road, and she discovers that one of her stops is Birmingham. Quentin sends Grace a care package which contains a book that Quentin said helped him find God. When Grace arrives in Birmingham, she plays a song with her dad in her dressing room, and they both begin to regret how strained their relationship is.
When Grace returns to Los Angeles, Grace tells Mossy that she does not want to sing the song that he picked out because its’ lyrics contain a message that she doesn’t believe in. Mossy tells her that she has to sing the song, because she was just named as the opening act for Renae Taylor. Grace talks about her problem with Quentin, and he asks her why she wants to be an entertainer (just as Johnny did after her first gig in Los Angeles). The next day, Mossy and Grace’s band are waiting for her in the recording studio to record the new single however; she leaves a note telling Mossy that she’s going home, so Mossy uses another girl that he’s recently signed. Grace goes home to Birmingham, and asks her parents and her congregation for forgiveness for the wrongs she has committed. Grace plays a song she has written (which is the first song she has ever written), and her dad embraces her with open arms. Two years later, Grace is engaged to Quentin, and she and Johnny perform as special guests at a Chris Tomlin (a real-life Christian artist show. The movie ends with Grace receiving the opportunity to share her music with the world, performing with her dad, and strengthening her relationship with God.
Hello again! So now that you know what Grace Unplugged is about, I’m sure that you’re ready to go get the DVD right? Well if you still need convincing, please allow me to explain why I loved the film. First of all, I really love the character of Grace, although she made a lot of mistakes that had me yelling at my computer “girl what’s wrong with you! C’mon Grace think!!!” I do like that she’s willing to take chances to achieve her dreams. I also love the emotional journey that Grace goes on throughout the movie, as she attempts to discover who she is, what her relationship with her parents and God is, and what she will risk for her dreams. I felt that AJ Michalka (who you may know from the duo Aly & AJ, the movie ‘Secretariat’, cameos in other films and TV shows, or the duo 78Violet) did an amazing job bring Grace to life, and causing the audience to fall in love with her. I honestly thought that all of the various other actors and actresses were cast very well, but the casting directors did a particular good job casting James Denton (who you may know from TV shows various TV shows, particularly Desperate Housewives, and various film) to star as Grace’s father Johnny. The relationship between Johnny and Grace was pivotal to the film, so it was nice to see two thespians that were able to connect so well, and really make you believe that they were father and daughter. Lastly, I really loved that the film was not overly cliché and did not hide the truths about the dangers of stardom. We often hear about celebrity disaster stories, but we don’t often stop to think how these stories begin. In the movie, Grace’s drinking becomes a problem for her, although it begins very innocently. Grace also made a lot of mistakes that she later had to apologize for, but was eventually able to make her dreams come true. This is the type of movie that will leave you feeling inspired, and will warm you heart. I give it 5 smiley faces (oh c’mon, you know that smiley faces are more fun than stars!). I definitely recommend this cinematic gem to EVERYONE!!!