Graceful

Grace directed by Paul Solet is a supernatural horror film that radicalizes the idea of motherhood, and injects irony into the whole, “sacred” experience of childbirth. The film focuses on the story of a woman whose devotion to veganism has to be neglected to make way for her infant daughter’s “special needs.” There were a lot of notions involving different aspects in life that got corrupted as these were the forces in which the director used to express his intentions.

The movie begins with Michael and his pregnant, vegan wife Madeline Matheson awaiting the birth of their first child. One night they were on the road they experience a tragic car accident and unfortunately, Michael and the unborn baby died in the crash. In despair and getting robbed of her loved ones, Madeline collects herself and does not give up on her baby. She carries her stillborn baby to term in her midwife’s private clinic. The baby, who is dead in her mother’s arms, is miraculously revived by naught but Madeline’s love. However, things will turn for the worse as God’s special gift of Grace is soon develop into a creature from way below rather than above.

Like most films in the horror genre, to alter and corrupt an ideology we people consider good as a director’s tool for injecting fear among the viewers is very creative and somewhat satisfying. It is no wonder then that Solet’s Grace is grounded on versions of two types of pure love, a mother’s boundless love for her child, which is accepted by society as one of the most powerful and most beautiful emotional force on Earth. The other one is God’s unconditional love for all, which is completely transcendent and unbound by our human laws and our rationale.. These two types of love are in essence, beautiful and majestic. They are more compelling to us as we Filipinos are religious people. Turned upside down, the idea of radicalized filial love and corrupted agape in Grace are extremely horrifying.

The film revolves around a blonde, widow mother whose every decision and reasoning is for the wellbeing and protection of her child. It doesn’t matter how brutal or morally evil to the point of inhumanity those actions appears to be. This film is an excellent example of how the beauty of a mother’s love is changed into the driving force of horror that led to acts of inhumanity and insanity. However, Grace does not exhibit innovation in this genre.

Solet’s work without a doubt is horror, though the monster is found not within Madeline’s womb despite the baby needing blood to survive instead of her mother’s milk. Madeline’s actions are truly monstrous in nature such as killing Dr. Richard Sohn and “milking” his body in order to feed the baby, as well as brutalizing her own mother in law, all in the purpose of keeping her baby alive. It is more likely that the two purest types of love, a mother’s love and God’s love, is represented in the two types of liquid that Grace revolved around which was milk and blood. For Solet, altering these two concepts and pouring down meaning to these two liquids was extremely pivotal for the film to be considered horror.

The film does a very good job at making us feel uncomfortable. We have all been on one side of this relationship, albeit a normal and loving version. Seeing it through lenses such as these can taint our own experiences. To conclude, while the film was stretched thinly, Grace’s symbolisms and scenes were way beyond what I was expecting prior.

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