Saving Grace (1986 film)
Saving Grace is a 1986 film directed by Robert M. Young, produced by Herbert F. Solow, and starring Tom Conti, Giancarlo Giannini and Edward James Olmos. It is based on a novel by Celia Gittelson with screenplay by Richard Kramer and David S. Ward under a different name.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert M. Young|
|Produced by||Herbert F. Solow|
|Written by||Robert M. Young|
David S. Ward (as Joaquin Montana)
|Based on||the Novel by Celia Gittelson|
Edward James Olmos
|Music by||William Goldstein|
|Edited by||Peter Zinner|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|May 2, 1986|
It was the last film to be distributed by Embassy Pictures.
During an audience, the Pope communicates with a deaf mute young girl whose village has no priest. Accidentally locked out of the Vatican, the Pope travels to the small impoverished and demoralized village, his identity concealed by his beard growth. He realizes that the people need to rebuild a dilapidated aqueduct but, more importantly, that they must regain their community spirit and self-sufficiency. Without expertise and, initially, only the help of some street-wise orphans, he starts construction. All this is watched skeptically by a mysterious neighbour played by Giannini and opposed by local thugs led by Ciolino (Olmos) whose ill-gotten gains depend on the village remaining overly dependent on outsiders.
Although this movie is often classified as a comedy, it has serious themes, including what it takes for a community to develop resilience and how redemption occurs. The "cry" "heard" from a mute girl for a priest in her village comes at a time when the young Pope is going through a spiritual crisis. When he locks himself out of his lofty Vatican world, he makes his way to Montepetra (Mount of Peter, or stone) and begins to grasp his true vocation again by challenging tyranny and helping return water (baptismal grace) to the community to restore their strength. In Christian thought, there is always sacrifice of those who initially resist, then come by grace. It is a saving grace, as even the most skeptical of the community discover.
Production and release
Walter Goodman of The New York Times said, 'There's no more engaging actor around than Tom Conti, but not even he, with the assistance of such notables of international moviedom as Giancarlo Giannini, Erland Josephson and Fernando Rey, can lift Saving Grace out of its slough of sentiment.'