There is something about grief that affects people in many different ways. Grace is Gone ( 2007) is about a father who just found out his soldier wife has been killed in Iraq. It follows the effect of that traumatic news on him, especially has tries to tell his young daughters about their mother’s death.
John Cusack plays the role of the dad. He turns in one of the best dramatic performances of his career as a man who obviously loves his wife and is patriotic to the core about the war. His struggle and guilt over not meeting the criteria to serve his country, while his wife ends up making the ultimate sacrifice, is palpable throughout the movie.
Also, the story shows how this father tries to give his daughters a perfect day by taking them on a spontaneous road trip to a big amusement park as he struggles to tell them about their mother’s death. He is always at the verge of an emotional breakdown but pulls himself together for his girls. The daughters played by Shélan O’Keefe and by Gracie Bednarczyk are perfectly matched to Cusack and believable as a family.
A moving scene that is actually repeated in the movie is how Cusack’s character calls back into his home answering machine just to simulate conversations with his wife when he needs helps with how to deal with his children.
I recommend the film. It touches on the subject of death and the impact on a family. It is especially poignant because it also focuses on the casualties of the Iraq war without being preachy. It is more about the personal side of the story that we do not see portrayed as often in the general media.