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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Video Beaverhausen: Grace of My Heart

One of my all-time favorite flicks is Allison Anders' 1996 Grace of My Heart. Ms Anders is known as an indy director. With this film, she ventured into the majors with Martin Scorsese for Universal.

Scorsese and Douglas had a long-running relationship. In the director's remake of Cape Fear, she was the woman who had her face partly bitten off by Robert De Niro. She is also the granddaughter of screen legend Melvyn Douglas. I admire Ms. Douglas' naturalistic acting style.

Illeana is a big LGBT supporter. In the '90s, I often spotted her at the cafes and bars in Chelsea with her gay male friends. She was born and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Grace of My Heart has a great supporting cast. John Tutorro plays a very Phil Spector-like producer. Matt Dillon and Eric Stoltz are also in this. Bridget Fonda plays a closeted lesbian singer. Douglas' character writes her a song expressing her personal turmoil. Lesley Gore, on whom this character is based, co-wrote the number.

This film gave '60s girl-group music a big boost in the mid-'90s, making it popular again. Back then, a lot of people took my adoration of that genre as a little eccentric.

The storyline is about a woman songwriter and how the times shaped her work as much as her music shaped the times. It has a strongly feminist message. Douglas' character is a composite of Carole King and Ellie Greenwich with a little Joni Mitchell and a dash of Everywoman added.

By the way, the girl group at the beginning of the film were actually lip-synching to '90s revival girl-group For Real. Elvis Costello wrote the title song, "God Give Me Strength." Lily Banquette supplies vocals for Bridget Fonda.

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