Savage Grace – DVD Review


No matter how lofty people think they are; everyone is only a twisted misstep away from being a guest on The Jerry Springer Show. Can money or finely tailored suits really prevent a man from the creepy carnal desires that trailer park denizens embrace on Jerrys stage? The difference is the rich look more swanky when they sleep with the wrong person. Sophistication only means theyll toss a beloved antique chair at the man that betrayed their trust. Savage Grace is about an elite family that would have been gold for Springer.

In the 1940s, the Baekelands were a jet-setting couple who enjoyed the toast of the world. Brooks (Stephen Dillane) was the heir to the Bakelite fortune. He married Barbara (Julianne Moore), a lovely ex-actress whos far from the perfect socialite wife. She had a mean streak and cared little for being proper. But she liked doing a few dirty acts that a debutant gal wouldnt permit. Into their rich life came a son, Tony (eventually played by Eddie Redmayne). Hes the ultimate trust fund kid with little worries of the world. He knew that hed never have to work for a living. The world was his playground and no toy would be denied him. Hes bisexual without a guilty qualm.

Things got weird when Tony brought home a cute Italian beach bunny. Dad eventually scooped her up as his mistress. This brought out the complete drama queen in Barbara. However she had her escort action in Sam (Hugh Dancy). He was more of a drinking and shopping pal because he was gay, but seemed open to experimenting. During a hash haze, mother and son find themselves in bed with a bisexual lover between them. Things spiral out of control even further. There’s no stopping a tragic ending as things get way too freaky for polite company.

The performances of Savage Grace reflects the uptight nature of the real people behind the infamous incidents. Moore’s depiction of Barbara is a woman unhinged without resorting to complete histrionics. The most disturbing mother and son bonding moment is handled with a remote look that you know shes snapped without overplaying her face. At the end of the film, the Baekelands are beyond any family thats graced the stage on The Jerry Springer Show.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer bring out the detail of the lush life being depicted. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1. Its a rather hushed affair until Moore gets nasty. The subtitles are in Spanish and English.

Savage Grace: Behind the Scenes (5:32) is a promo clip from IFC. The actors explain how the reality of the family fascinated them. Moore speaks of how these are somewhat ordinary people trapped in an extraordinary life.

Savage Grace: The Back Story (3:45) is also from IFC. The cast and crew discuss how the script lured them into the production. Kalin speaks of how they pared down the timeline to help keep the budget down.

Trailer (2:09) focuses on the passion and things going wrong. They get blunt with the kinky threesome action. This isnt sold as a lofty Merchant-Ivory production.

Saving Grace is perfect viewing for fans of high society families going to hell. The true story of insanity amongst the jet setters touches all the right notes.


The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment presents Savage Grace. Directed by Tom Kalin. Starring Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane, Hugh Dancy and Eddie Redmayne. Written by Howard A Rodman. Running time: 97 minutes. Unrated. Released on DVD: December 23, 2008. Available at Amazon.

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