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Film / Saving Grace

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From Left to Right: Drug Kingpin, Talk Show Host.

A 2000 British comedy film directed by Nigel Cole based on a screenplay by Mark Crowdy and Craig Ferguson, Saving Grace stars Brenda Blethyn, Craig Ferguson, and Martin Clunes.

After her husband John’s suicide, newly widowed Grace Trevethyn, an avid gardener, discovers that she has inherited his significant debt. Moreover, the banks are ready to foreclose on her beautiful and historic house; in fact, they have already begun repossessing her furniture. Unwilling to leave her charming seaside town, her employment prospects are dim (even if she had a trade, her debts are substantial). Grace is given emotional support by the town's inhabitants, particularly her loyal, pot-smoking gardener Matthew Stewart and his girlfriend, the fishwoman Nicky. Rounding out the cast of quirky townsfolk are Nicky's fellow fisherman and Grace's boarder Harvey, and the stoner Dr. Martin Bamford. Despite wanting to help Grace save her home and livelihood, none are able to find an immediate solution to Grace's plight.


Her Saving Grace comes in the form of a midnight trip to the town vicarage when Matthew, who Grace has reluctantly fired after her riding mower is repossessed, asks Grace's help reviving some plants he's been secretly growing in the vicar's backyard. Upon discovering that they're hemp plants, Grace brings them back to her greenhouse since she's aware they need more light. Her prowess as a gardener shows itself as Matthew's plants quickly yield a massive amount of product. Grace and Matthew quickly realize that they have a way to get Grace out of her financial straits, and Matthew his job back. However, the modest country widow may be in a bit over her head . . .

This plot may remind you of a more lighthearted version of a certain TV show. Not to be confused with the Supernatural Cop Show.



  • Babies Ever After: Nicky and Matthew. Nicky's pregnancy is one of the main reasons Grace decides if anyone is going to take the fall for all this, it's her.
  • Berserk Button: Do not appear to threaten Grace in front of Matthew.
  • Betty and Veronica: The late John Trevethyn had a seemingly loyal wife, the fair-haired Grace. He also had a mistress, the dark-haired Honey.
  • Cloud Cuckooland: The entire town. It's saying something when the pot-grower is the most levelheaded of the bunch. Perhaps somewhat justified in that there doesn't seem to be much for younger inhabitants of the town to do except get high and hang out at the pub.
  • Cool Old Lady: While calling Grace an old lady is a bit of a stretch, she is surprisingly tolerant of growing and using pot. Moreover, her irritation at realizing Matthew is growing hemp plants seems more to do with the fact that he assumed she wouldn't know what they were by sight. Her fellow garden club members definitely qualify. The alms collector who refuses Grace's donation because of her money problems gets a special mention.
  • Driven to Suicide: Grace's husband.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Grace is introduced to us in her greenhouse, painstakingly dyeing an orchid to wear to her husband's funeral. Her prowess as a gardener ends up driving the plot.
  • Fish out of Water: While an adept grower, Grace is hilariously bad at dealing.
  • Happily Ever After: Grace becomes a wildly successful author, gets out of her financial difficulties, remarries happily, and nobody in the town suffers any fallout from her short-lived drug cartel.
  • Hidden Depths: Grace's aptitude for growing pot. Dr. Bamford is also surprisingly good at his job, as is the bumbling cop.
  • Hope Spot: Grace and Matthew's bountiful harvest. Then they realize that they have to somehow distribute it . . .
  • Impoverished Patrician: Grace from the beginning of the film. Her (former) socioeconomic status is never stated outright, but she and John were clearly rather well off, living in a large and historic house with valuable furniture and extensive gardens. It is also clear that she was never expected to work outside the home, given her response of "what could I possibly do" to Matthew when he suggests she get a job (although she seems to be lamenting her lack of a marketable skill set rather than claiming she's too "good" to work).
  • Intoxication Ensues: The two old ladies who run the village store are told that a marijuana plant is an exotic tea. They steal a few leaves and brew them up so they can taste this new tea. They proceed to get stoned, much to the bewilderment of their customers. note 
  • Like a Son to Me: The relationship between Grace and Matthew has overtones of this. She's willing to take the rap for any legal fallout the duo might face.
  • Meaningful Name: "Honey Chambers," the late John Trevethyn's mistress.
  • Monochrome Casting: With the exception of some extras and bit players we see when Grace goes to London.
  • Mood Whiplash: Goes from potential tragedy about an impoverished widow to a stoner comedy.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The bumbling cop, rather than simply obsessed with tracking down salmon poachers, has known all along what's going on in Grace's greenhouse (as well as at the vicarage), but has decided to turn a blind eye to it due to Grace's string of tragedies.
  • Running Gag: "Salmon Poachers."
  • Scenery Porn: Plenty of gorgeous shots of the dramatic Cornish Coast, particularly when Grace ponders her options.
  • The Mistress: Honey Chambers, who ultimately provides Grace with a connection to the drug market.
  • Those Two Guys: The shop-owners/garden club ladies who get high off of Grace's "tea." Chyna and Honey's dealer.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In addition to facing down a dangerous drug cartel, Grace becomes a great deal more outspoken and assertive over the course of the film, particularly regarding her late husband.
  • Trauma Conga Line: First, Grace's unfaithful husband jumps out of an airplane. Then, she finds out she's drowning in debt. Then, she gets involved in the drug trade . . .
  • 0% Approval Rating: John Trevethyn after his death, when the entire town realizes to what extent he screwed over his wife. Ultimately Lampshaded by Grace herself.


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