Australian director Sue Brooks takes a prismatic approach to Looking for Grace, a tale of family, infidelity and theft told from a variety of perspectives.
It’s not quite Rashomon, though.
Fractured, non-linear narratives rely on the strength of their individual storylines as well as the whole, whether aiming for ‘everything’s connected’ à la Babel, ‘here’s a bunch of short stories’ à la Pulp Fiction, or Looking for Grace’s more modest ‘maybe people have more going on than you think’ moral.
Problem is, despite the best efforts of a solid Aussie cast, each of the film’s chapters flop and flounder. They don’t have the dramatic momentum to maintain your interest out of context and, more egregiously, lack compelling characterisation. Brooks regards her characters with a kind of condescension that’s intended to evoke Coens-esque deadpan comedy; while the film occasionally succeeds as comedy, the net effect is that we’re consistently distanced from characters while simultaneously unsure of the plot’s particulars. Confusion soon transforms into boredom.
As its title suggests, Looking for Grace is about people striving for meaning in their lives and, by and large, failing. It’s unfortunate that the film had to follow in their footsteps.