No News is Bad News. Join the SA Current Press Club.

Savage Grace 

Dir. Tom Kalin, writ. Howard A. Rodman, Natalie Robins (book), Steven M.L. Aronson (book); feat. Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane, Elena Anaya, Eddie Redmayne (NR)

Director Tom Kalin dropped a sophisticated, sublime movie called Swoon into art houses in 1992, a movie that blended a highly stylized true-crime story with psychosexual fearlessness. He achieves an ever bolder anesthetization of true-crime past with Savage Grace, only his second feature since. It’s the decadent, disturbing drama of the crumbling marriage of Brooks Baekeland (Dillane) — of the Bakelite fortune — and his wife Barbara (Moore), and how it affects their son Tony (Redmayne, as the adult Tony). The story moves episodically from the Baekelands’ tony New York life in 1946 to their time abroad in Paris, Mallorca, and 1972 London, where their extravagant, almost stereotypically idle-rich lives are brutally changed.

It’s how Kalin embraces and subverts wealth’s stereotypes that unearths the most rewards here: Each locality and era is recreated with awareness of the look and feel of cinematic representations of that era, and in each instance you almost feel like you’re watching a parody that takes itself too seriously. But it’s right then that Kalin hooks you — thanks, especially, to a typically fearsome performance from Moore and an astutely controlled turn from Redmayne — setting you up for one of the more psychologically uncomfortable denouements in film this year.

San Antonio Current works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of San Antonio and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep San Antonio's true free press free.

More by Bret Mccabe

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation