Directed by: Nigel Cole
Starring: Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson
Yes, here's a feel-good movie of high order: Terrific script, uplifting story, superb acting. A virtually flawless technical production -- from cinematography to editing -- allows you to sit back and enjoy the ride. Here's the plot: Sweet and delicate Grace Trevethyn's dashing husband dashes right out of an airplane at high altitude, sans parachute, leaving her to learn that he's mortgaged their 300-year-old manor home to the hilt. Within days of the funeral, creditors are swarming the house and grounds to repossess everything she thought was her own. Having to raise more than $500,000, she enlists the help of her devoted gardener to transform her orchid greenhouse into a high-tech, hydroponic, highly-illegal hemp-growing operation. Meanwhile, the fellow residents of her English coastal village -- lobster-fishermen, greengrocer and vicar alike -- either turn a supportive blind eye or remain charmingly-confused by the goings-on at Lilac House. Think typical British farce, full of hilarity. All parts are played by an extraordinary ensemble cast. As attractive, veddy middle-class Grace, Brenda Blethyn bids adieu to the string of haggard and oppressed mother-roles that made her famous. Scottish comic (and TV's Drey Carey Show regular) Craig Ferguson co-wrote and impressively co-stars as Matthew, the devoted pothead gardener. Meanwhile, England's Cornish coast -- ruggedly gorgeous, isolated and bracing --- does a star turn; this movie's cinematography is like a love letter to the region. The film's production notes contend: "We're probably the first feature film ever to get Crown dispensation to use actual marijuana plants." Somewhere in this movie is a message. However, one risks leaving the theater pondering, as we did, why alcohol is a legal, government-supported drug, while selling marijuana can cause you, in the memorable words of Matthew's girlfriend, to be "chased around your prison cell by a 16-stone bank robber with a stiffy." Two great big hydroponically-enhanced buds up for Saving Grace!