About a month ago, I took my husband on a date to the movies. I’m lucky to frequently receive invitations to advance screenings. Sometimes they are good, sometimes a bit short of the mark, so I often attend alone. A sneak peek at the Grace Unpluggedmovie trailer told me this was the perfect film to see with Greg, my guitar playing, music ministry volunteering, ER doc/rocker husband.
Take two minutes and watch the trailer and I think you’ll find yourself anxious to see the full story:
Here’s the blueprint:
Grace Unplugged stars Amanda “AJ” Michalka as 18-year-old Christian singer/songwriter Grace Rose Trey, who plays guitar and leads worship with her dad Johnny (James Denton). Her dad is a former rock star who has left his secular career behind and is now a worship leader at their small-town Alabama church. Grace is restless for her own shot at pop stardom, and seizes on an opportunity to go to L.A., against the wishes of her family. Cutting off contact with her parents, Grace seems prepared to walk away from her Christian faith and music to achieve her Hollywood dream. Will the experience cause her to reject her faith or rediscover it? GRACE UNPLUGGED is a modern day prodigal-daughter story and is Rated PG.
AJ Michalka and James Denton in Grace Unplugged
Sadly, sometimes well intentioned Christian-oriented films fall short when it comes to production values or acting. That’s definitely not the case with Grace Unplugged. There are so many great actors in the film, but I have to especially commend James Denton and AJ Michalka for the real emotions that flow in their highly-charged onscreen Daddy-Daughter relationship. I’m a “Daddy’s Girl”, so I was on high alert for phoniness or a lack of intensity, but actually found the opposite. The love, the conflict, and the ultimate surrender and resolution between this pair of musically gifted performers is at the heart of what makes Grace Unplugged work so well. At its core, this is the story of a “prodigal” and her journey not only to pursue her dreams, but also her journey to really claim her faith in God for her very own, perhaps for the first time in her life.
At the end of the film, as the audience roared with applause, Greg and I sat in our seats speechless for a moment. We had both LOVED this film. And saying that Greg “loves” something is a high mark to hit — he was particularly blown away by the acting, but also by the quality of the music (which could – and likely will — merit a blog post all its own).
Grace Unplugged is a must see film. But let me go a step further: it’s a “must see on opening night” film. Not only because of the incredible parable it tells, but also because of the message our families send when we sell out high quality, family friendly movies. Hollywood is a tough master — in order for us to continue to have access to top notch, non-yucky entertainment, we have to show up and sell out these opening nights. We have to demand the best for our budgets, and for our families.