Saving Grace (2000) is an entertaining, light comedy from the United Kingdom. After her husband's death, Grace (Brenda Blethyn) discovers that her spouse has used all of their assets as loan collateral for failed business dealings. Desperate and broke, she has no clue what to do or how to save her home. Knowing her skills in the greenhouse, Grace's gardener (Craig Ferguson) asks her assistance in reviving a sickly marijuana plant and her green thumb works wonders. Soon, the two hatch a plan to solve their financial problems -- use Grace's talents to grow, harvest, and sell incredible amount of pot. Of course, the residents of the small fishing village soon become suspicious and it is getting more and more difficult to hide what is growing in Grace's greenhouse...
Although the subject matter may not appeal to all, SAVING GRACE is a lot of fun. Brenda Blethyn is (as usual) fantastic, and the rest of the cast does a wonderful job also. The comedy is of the charming, slightly slapstick variety, although there are several laugh-out-loud moments. Both the cinematography and the soundtrack are excellent. Note that the drug use in the film is treated very lightly, as a harmless springboard for the comedy -- it is unlikely to offend, unless you are very sensitive to this sort of thing.
Typical of New Line discs, this is a very good video transfer. The film is presented in widescreen (2.35:1) and is anamorphically-enchanced. The picture is very crisp and clean, free from any artifacts. SAVING GRACE uses a very deliberate color scheme, and the palette is rendered in rock-solid fashion on this DVD.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 does an excellent job presenting the soundtrack of this film. The majority of sound comes from the front soundstage, which is very wide and contains noticeable directionality. The surrounds come alive on occasion, and do a wonderful job enveloping you with the impressive musical soundtrack. Because this is a British film that may cause problems for some US audiences, crispness of the speech is very important. Luckily, the DVD shines in this regard, with all dialog being easy-to-understand. A 2.0 English track is also provided.
New Line presents this simple comedy in a surprisingly packed special edition, which includes two commentary tracks. The first track is a series of interviews with the director Nigel Cole and actors Brenda Blethyn and Craig Ferguson that was clearly recorded separately and is not specific to the action on the screen (much like the commentaries on T2 or the James Bond discs). The second track is a more traditional screen-specific commentary, featuring Cole, Ferguson, and co-writer Mark Crowely. Both of these approaches to commentary can work well when done with care, as they are here. I found them to both be entertaining and informative. In addition to the audio supplements, the disc features cast and crew filmographies and an interesting theatrical trailer (which, because of MPAA regulations, manages to advertise the story without once showing or mentioning marijuana!). Subtitles are also available in English.
If you're in the mood for a light, fun comedy, SAVING GRACE may just be what you're looking for. New Line has done another excellent job on this DVD, not only providing superior video and sound, but also packing it with some interesting supplements. Definitely recommended.