Movie Review: “Grace Unplugged”

“Sometimes, chasing your dreams leads you right to where you belong.”

That is the main message in the 2013 film, Grace Unplugged, a film that is definitely worth seeing. I mentioned the soundtrack before on this website, and after seeing the movie back in April, I’m so happy to finally share my review with all of you.

“Having just turned 18, Grace Trey (AJ MICHALKA) aspires to more than just singing at her church, where the worship leader is her father– a former pop star (JAMES DENTON). So, with the help of her dad’s former manager (KEVIN POLLAK), Grace records a cover version of her dad’s old Top-10 hit, runs off to Los Angeles, and begins to taste the kind of stardom she’s always dreamed about.
Yet with each rung of the ladder she climbs, Grace feels more and more pressure to compromise her values, further straining her relationship with her parents. Will everything she experiences lead her to reject her faith … or rediscover it?”

Like the above paragraph said, Grace Unplugged is a musical drama film that features good writing; acting; music, etc. I’ve seen quite a few inspirational films in the past, and –I have to be honest– this genre of films is usually hit-or-miss. The movies can be either good, terrible, or in-between just ok. Sometimes, there’s an inspirational movie that is just perfect. Grace Unplugged is one of them. (What’s the other film I saw that was really good??? To Save a Life, another one I mentioned before on this blog)

Honestly, I bought this DVD not knowing if I would like it or not. Some of my favourite Christian artists were talking about it on Facebook, and I thought, “Ooh, an inspirational movie starring AJ MIchalka. I wonder if I’ll like it?” So, after obsessing over the movie for a few months after its theatrical release in October 2013, the time came for the movie to be released on DVD and Blu-ray, and a few months after THAT, I finally bought it from a local Christian bookstore. (You can tell I had to wait a long time for this!) Despite the long wait, I was very impressed by this movie, for many reasons. Some highlights for me included…

• The Acting. Having been already familiar with AJ from previous projects she’s done (Secretariat, Cow Belles, a guest appearance on Motive), I instantly knew I would love this movie. But surprisingly, I liked a lot of the other actors / actresses too. CCM artist (and founder of I’m A Jamie Grace also makes an appearance in this film as Grace’s best friend, Rachel. Although she plays a minor character, she did pretty good for her first acting role.

• The Music. Another reason why I wanted to see this movie was the music. Prior to seeing the movie, I downloaded some songs from the movie’s soundtrack on my phone… If you listened to some of the songs, you would never know AJ used to be a Disney star… she has an amazing voice! Some standout tracks include All I’ve Ever Needed, Misunderstood, a cover of Desert Song, and You Never Let Go. One thing I noticed is that AJ used what I call the “Camp Rock approach” with the songs in the movie… just like Demi Lovato in the previously-mentioned 2008 film, AJ sings most of the songs live in this movie. I thought that was really cool, and I thought she sounded just as amazing “live” as she does on the soundtrack. (Also, I never knew James Denton was an actor AND a singer! He sings back-up on You Never Let Go, but he recorded a version of Misunderstood, that can be heard during the opening credits / montage in the film. Amazing)

• The Writing. Unlike some other inspirational films I’ve seen, the script was actually very well-written for this film. The writing wasn’t terrible, and the plot wasn’t too weak… I don’t know who wrote the script for this movie, but can they write for other inspirational movies too?

Overall, Grace Unplugged is a great movie about a father-daughter relationship, with great acting, music, writing, etc. It has an important message about how sometimes your dreams aren’t really what you think they are. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for an inspirational movie about chasing your dreams.


Grace Unplugged

Directed By: Brad J. Silverman
Release Date(s): In Theatres: October 4th 2013 DVD: February 11th 2014
Soundtrack Release Date: August 27th 2013 Capitol Christian Music
Production company: Roadside Attractions Coram Deo Studios
Running Time: 102 minutes
Distributed By: Lionsgate Films
Starring: AJ Michalka as Grace Trey
James Denton as Johnny Trey
Kevin Pollak as Frank "Mossy" Mostin
Shawnee Smith as Michelle Trey
Michael Welch as Quentin
Jamie Grace as Rachel
Emma Catherwood as Kendra
Kelly Thiebaud as Renae Taylor
Pia Toscano as Alyssa

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