Released: 17th January
Seen: 21st January
Tyler Perry is a director whose work I’ve never watched before. I’ve heard about it, it’s reputation precedes it, but I’ve never seen anything he’s made. Most of his films came out before I did this reviewing thing so I would react like most people and look at the posters and say “That looks like shit” and then go see something else. The ones he’s released since I started reviewing never made it to the cinema near me so again, no reason for me to try and see them. I will say that I respect the man for what he’s done in the industry, there aren’t many black writer-directors who are getting consistent work and somehow Tyler Perry has made it so he is making a movie every year, often with a largely black cast. He recently opened the first black-owned movie studio which is absolutely incredible and he deserves a spot in cinematic history just for that alone. I respect him… but that doesn’t mean I have to like the movie he made, which I really don’t.
A Fall From Grace has a promising setup, I’ll give it that much. We’re introduced to a woman named Grace Waters (Crystal Fox) who has murdered her husband and wants to plead guilty to the crime. She is given the public defender Jasmine Bryant (Bresha Webb) who is known for making plea deals but this time she thinks there’s more to the story than what Grace is telling her. It’s a promising setup that really could lead to a great movie… it doesn’t, it leads to a tacky TV melodrama that feels like the D story on one of the more forgettable soap operas. It leads to a movie that’s chock full of twists and turns that make no sense whatsoever and basically rely on the audience not understanding how human beings work.
This is a film where our main character is told “Your house has been mortgaged” and it’s obvious fraud that anyone could spot, there’s literally video evidence to back that up and no one goes to jail for it. This is a film where you will hear the following line of dialogue:-
I saw an old woman fall to her death, but I’m all right. Your turn
You will be expected to take this line of dialogue seriously and refrain from the desire to cackle like a banshee. I failed at this, I may just end up quoting this line whenever anyone asks me how my day was because it’s genuinely incredible.
The acting in this film is honestly the best thing about it. I can’t deny that Crystal Fox is selling her role like nothing else, which is saying a lot considering what she’s asked to do and the lines she’s expected to say with a straight face. It’s also really good seeing Phylicia Rashad getting to have a little bit of fun and show us why she is a true icon. Every cast member is making the best out of what they have, with the notable exception of the writer/director Tyler Perry who has got on the worst wig I’ve seen in a movie… and considering that A Fall from Grace is littered with bad wigs on just about every character, it says a lot that the one I feel the need to call out is his. It also says a lot that this is the first time I’ve ever brought up how bad a wig is in a movie, it is just distracting.
If you make it past the wigs and the dialogue, you have to handle the fact that this just isn’t a well-made film. It was apparently shot in five days and you can tell. The film making itself is pedestrian, the editing is average and there are so many assorted mistakes that it’s become a trend on Twitter to go through and point them all out. We’re talking mistakes that you just shouldn’t be making when you’ve directed as many films as Tyler Perry has. It’s just unpolished and rushed for literally no reason. This isn’t a TV movie where they write, film and edit all within a week, this is a major motion picture by a studio owner who is releasing it on Netflix which would have waited for him to get it right. There was no reason to rush this out, at least wait long enough to do another draft on the script to take out the pointless plotline about the kidnapped grannies.
I will admit that I did enjoy this film, just not in the way that was intended. Clearly, the film is going for a legal thriller where you’re on the edge of your seat wondering if the main character will get away with it, throwing in a relationship drama where you hope for the wife to escape her abusive man (who is cartoonishly abusive, as in he steals hundreds of thousands of dollars from his wife, verbally abuses every chance he gets and literally cheats on his wife in their marital bed… Oh and the cops do nothing) but honestly? This is a comedy of errors, the dialogue is just hilariously bad and the situation implausible. They don’t even really try to make a point out of things like the cops not helping, they could’ve made a secondary story about the cops being racist or something to try and explain why no one is going to help… nope, that would require planning.
Oh and we need to talk about the twist at the ending. I have no plans on spoiling it but I will tell you that it’s absolutely insane. It makes no sense and requires you to be willfully idiotic in order to believe it, but it’s the kind of insanity that might make the entire film worth watching just so you can enjoy every morsel of glorious batshit fuckery that awaits you at the end of this movie.
A Fall from Grace fell flat on its face. From start to finish it just doesn’t work… for me. I’m sure for some people it’s going to be great. I still think you should watch it just because it’s so gloriously bad that you will enjoy seeing it. It’s entertaining, but it’s not good. I genuinely wanted to like this one in the way it was intended but I guess that wasn’t meant to be.