Grace of My Heart

( 4 )


Illeana Douglas delivers a superb performance as Denise Waverly, a fictional singer and songwriter whose life bears more than a passing resemblance to that of real-life pop star Carole King. Edna Buxton, the daughter of a Philadelphia steel tycoon, aspires to a career as a singer, and when against her mother's bidding she sings a sultry version of "Hey There (You With the Stars in Your Eyes)" (instead of Mom's choice, "You'll Never Walk Alone") at a talent contest, she wins a recording contact and moves to New ...
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Illeana Douglas delivers a superb performance as Denise Waverly, a fictional singer and songwriter whose life bears more than a passing resemblance to that of real-life pop star Carole King. Edna Buxton, the daughter of a Philadelphia steel tycoon, aspires to a career as a singer, and when against her mother's bidding she sings a sultry version of "Hey There (You With the Stars in Your Eyes)" (instead of Mom's choice, "You'll Never Walk Alone") at a talent contest, she wins a recording contact and moves to New York City. She cuts a record and gains a new stage name, Denise Waverly; however, she soon finds that girl singers are a dime a dozen in the Big Apple and her career as a vocalist goes nowhere. But she has a knack for writing songs, and eccentric producer Joel Milner (John Turturro) asks her to pen some songs for his upcoming projects. Teamed with Howard Caszatt (Eric Stoltz), a hipster songwriter who wants to express his political and social ideals through pop tunes, she finds both a successful collaborator and husband. While her work with Howard gains Denise writing credits on a string of hit records and respect within the industry, their marriage falls apart, and she becomes involved with Jay Phillips (Matt Dillon), the gifted but unstable leader of a popular West Coast surf music combo. Students of pop music history will have a ball with the various characters modeled after real-life rock legends, and the 1960s-style song score includes numbers written by Joni Mitchell and J. Mascis (of the band Dinosaur Jr.), as well as one-time King collaborator Gerry Goffin; a collaboration between Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach, "God Give Me Strength," led to a full album written by the two great tunesmiths.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Coming on the heels of her universally trashed segment of Four Rooms, Grace of My Heart was writer/director Allison Anders' ambitious attempt to capture several different eras in American popular music. The film dramatizes the life of a frustrated singer/songwriter, Edna Buxton (Illeana Douglas), who longs to sing her own songs, but instead develops a successful career as a songwriter for hire. While it covers much of the same time period and is similar in subject matter to What's Love Got to Do With It?, the Tina Turner biopic released a few years earlier, Grace of My Heart is a much more low-key and intimate film. Because Edna is a sane and likeable, but passive young woman, who gradually grows to find her voice, she is frequently overshadowed by the more flamboyant and eccentric male characters, including Eric Stoltz's charming but hypocritical beatnik; Matt Dillon's cuddly and brilliant, but schizophrenic surfer boy; and John Turturro's nerdy and irritating, but stalwart manager. Douglas is very engaging in this challenging role (her first lead), and the men in the cast play deftly off her steadfastness. The film is episodic and lags occasionally, but Anders captures the spirit of each era and musical style Edna passes through with exemplary wit and economy. She is aided in this by the wonderfully evocative work of her musical collaborators, including her longtime friend and contributor J. Mascis, as well as Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello, and Burt Bacharach. After making this film, Anders tried to make a biopic about Paul McCartney, which never got off the ground. She continued making films about the music business, with Sugar Town and Things Behind the Sun, but eventually returned to a smaller-scale, more personal style of filmmaking.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/17/1999
  • UPC: 025192043826
  • Original Release: 1996
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 1:56:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 30,550

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Illeana Douglas Denise Waverly/Edna Buxton
Matt Dillon Jay Phillips
John Turturro Joel Millner
Eric Stoltz Howard Caszatt
Bruce Davison John Murray
Patsy Kensit Cheryl Steed
Jennifer Leigh Warren Doris Shelley
Bridget Fonda Kelly Porter
Chris Isaak Matthew Lewis
Peter Fonda Voice Only
Lynne Adams Kindly Nurse
Kathy Barbour Sha Sha
Natalie Venetia Belcon Betty
Sissy Boyd Dress Saleswoman
Robert Brunner Theremin Player
Buster Baby Luma
Precious Chong Crying Woman At Funeral
David Clennon Dr. "Jonesy" Jones
Alice Cohen Singer In Tree
Shawn Colvin Commune Guitarist
Amanda de Cadenet Receptionist
Drena De Niro Receptionist
Paige Dylan Singer On Beach
Christina Ehrich Riptides Dancing Girl
For Real Brill Building Hallway Singers
Melanie A. Gage Riptides Dancing Girl
Delia Gonzalez Singer In Tree
Jade Gordon Girl In Coffee Shop
Lita Hernandez Singer In Tree
Alicia Jaffee Singer On Beach
Lucinda Jenney Marion
China Kantner Singer On Beach
Larry Klein Record Producer
Redd Kross Group Member [The Riptides]
Deidre Lewis Girl In Howard's Bed
Albert Macklin TV Interviewer
J Mascis Riptides Engineer
Jeff McDonald Group Member [The Riptides]
Steve McDonald Group Member [The Riptides]
John Nacco Cab Driver
Christina Pickles Mrs. Buxton
Irving Eugene Washington Stylettes Member
Brian Reitzell Group Member [The Riptides]
Diane Robin Waitress In Diner
Richard Schiff Audition Record Producer
Chris Shearer Security Expert
Jill Sobule Talent Show Contestant
Brittany English Stevens Luma
Lita Stevens Radio Station Receptionist
Eric A. Stromer Doris' L.A. Boyfriend
Andrew Williams Click Brothers
Johnny Thomas III Annie's Son
Martin Valinsky Brill Building Songwriter
Harry Victor Journalist
Kristen Vigard Denise Waverly/Edna Buxton [Singing Voice]
Tracy Vilar Annie
Tegan West M.C. At Talent Show
Kurt Jackson Stylettes Member
Eric Jerome Kirkland Stylettes Member
David Andrews Stylettes Member
Technical Credits
Allison Anders Director, Screenwriter
Alex Acuña Score Composer
Sara Andrews Set Decoration/Design
Artist Robinson Asst. Director
Dale Balenseifen Score Composer
Rhonda Baron Musical Direction/Supervision
Chuck Berghofer Score Composer
Mayne Berke Art Director
Susan Bertram Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Brunner Score Composer
David Richard Campbell Musical Arrangement
David Carey Score Composer
Chad Smith Score Composer
Ruth Charny Producer
Jim Cox Score Composer, Musical Arrangement
Randy Crenshaw Score Composer
Donna Davidson Score Composer
Carole Dubuc Asst. Director
Jean-Yves Escoffier Camera Operator
Lawrence Feldman Score Composer
Michael Fischer Score Composer
Flea Score Composer
Steve Foreman Score Composer
Tommy Funderburk Score Composer
Domenic Genova Score Composer
Susan Goulder Set Decoration/Design
Russell Gray Casting
Ed Greene Score Composer
Linda Grimes Makeup
Claudia Groom Score Composer
John Guerin Score Composer
Jim Haas Score Composer
Stephen Halbert Sound Mixer
Burtt Harris Asst. Director
John Hartigan Special Effects
Jimmie Haskell Musical Arrangement
Daniel Hassid Producer
Lori Hicks Makeup
Dan Higgins Score Composer
Adam Holender Cinematographer
Kenton Jakub Editor
Leslie Johnson Score Composer
Pias Johnson Score Composer
Raven Kane Score Composer
Eddie Karam Musical Arrangement
Larry Klein Score Composer, Songwriter
David Knox Camera Operator
Stephen Krause Sound Mixer
Greg Kurstin Score Composer
James Y. Kwei Editor
Michael Landau Score Composer
Wing Lee Art Director
Greg Leisz Score Composer
Steve Lindsey Score Composer
Merissa Littlefield Editor
Larry Loewinger Sound Mixer
Rick Logan Score Composer
Sal Marquez Score Composer
Michael Melvoin Score Composer
Robert Mounsey Score Composer
Bobbi Page Score Composer
Gene Page Musical Arrangement
Chris Parker Score Composer
Dean Parks Score Composer
Herbert Pederson Score Composer
Christian P. Della Penna Asst. Director
Lynette Rennells Score Composer
Artist W. Robinson Asst. Director
Harvey Rosenstock Editor
Thelma Schoonmaker Editor
Martin Scorsese Executive Producer
François Séguin Production Designer
Lew Soloff Score Composer
Dave Spinozza Score Composer
Lloyd Stripling Score Composer
Freddie Washington Score Composer
Doug Webb Score Composer
Victoria Williams Score Composer
T-Bone Wolk Score Composer
Keith Young Choreography
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter List
1. To Be A Singer [2:31]
2. Main Titles [5:10]
3. In Another World [3:37]
4. Doris & The Girls [1:59]
5. The Perfect Song [4:06]
6. A Real Songwriter [10:25]
7. Heart And Vision [15:01]
8. The Heartbreak Kid [5:23]
9. Something For Kelly [4:11]
10. Screts [4:48]
11. A Man In Mama's Life [7:01]
12. The Perfect Producer [3:21]
13. God Gives Me Strength [8:52]
14. Malibu 1967 [3:57]
15. The Real Nitty Gritty [16:14]
16. Chapter 16between two worlds [1:29]
17. A Song For Everyone [7:47]
18. End Titles [4:04]
1. The Journey [1:24]
2. The Idea Becomes a Movie [9:07]
3. The Brill Building [10:06]
4. The Music [16:27]
5. Ha! [4:40]
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Side #1 --
   Bonus Materials
      The Making Of Grace Of My Heart
         Chapter List
            Menu Group #1 with 6 chapter(s) covering 00:41:47
      Feature Commentary With Director Allison Anders
      Cut To 'grace' Allison Ander's Diary
      Deleted Scenes
      Production Notes
      Cast And Filmmakers
         Illeana Douglas
         Matt Dillon
         Eric Stultz
         Bruce Davison
         Patsy Kensit
         John Turturro
         Allison Anders
      Theatrical Trailer
      Universal Web Link
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one of my all time favorites

    This was a great movie about an era that I wasn't privileged enough to be a part of. The best thing about the movie is the music.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Made me feel again, in this 21st troubled century

    I saw this film last night for the first time on british t.v. and it got to me!I am an english lady 49yrs old and seeing this film made me feel alive,as well as yearning for the past. It has amused me lately that the retail stores are selling the gear of that era, we now have 16 yr old hippies everywhere! I only had to get out my old clothes from the wardrobe!Sincerely the film has not damaged my health,just woken me up again. I don't look my age anyway, 5ft 7'', slim, size 10, blond, green eyed, and I have put back on the clothes,and let my soul free again. I will be purchasing this film soon, and I will wallow once again.Love to you all, who feel the same. I am in need of a soulmate right now, but guess the film will have to fill that gap for now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Grow up in the '60s?

    I you grew up in the sixties and know anything about the music of that era, you will probably enjoy this film. If you know much about Carole King, you may enjoy this even more. It parallels Carole's life, although it's been said there is no connection. The performances are very good, especially Illeana Douglas's. The music is pretty good too...not music from the era but music that is very much like ''pop'' songs from the sixties. It's a movie that has a very serious side, but not serious enough to make it unpleasant or uneasy to watch. Try it. I think you'll like it and it will bring back some memories of those days gone by.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a fun fictional look at 60's pop

    This film is a fun indie soap opera flick, paying loving homage to the ''Brill Building'' songwriting era. The music is very genuine in capturing the era's sound. Smart performances by Douglas Stoltz, Dillion, and Tuturro

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews