“A Fall From Grace” marks several firsts for Atlanta-based entertainment mogul Tyler Perry. It’s his first feature film for Netflix, his first psychological thriller, and also the prolific writer-actor-director-producer’s first film since wrapping up the Medea series of ten big screen films which, combined, earned more than half a billion dollars at the box office.
In “A Fall From Grace”, Crystal Fox (TV’s “The Haves and Have Nots”, “Big Little Lies”) plays the title role, a cougar who finds love after divorce with a man half her age. Mechad Brooks (“Desperate Housewives”) is the younger BF, a sociopathic, manipulative, psychopath – whom Grace ends up in jail for killing. Or did she? It’s up to inexperienced public defender Bresha Webb (“Love that Girl!”), to sort out the lies, betrayals, cover-ups, and secrets. Phylicia Rashad (“The Cosby Show”) plays Grace’s best friend, Sarah, a pivotal character.
Told in part through flashbacks, the film offers a glimpse into the harrowing hell that has become Grace’s life and the multiple reasons she wanted to kill her new husband—including his cheating , stealing, and abusive behavior.
While Netflix rarely reveals its trade secrets, “A Fall From Grace” seems to be have profited from a much bigger budget than any of Perry’s previous films. The cinematography, editing, and art direction are all miles above other Perry projects (and, yes, I have seen them all).
Perry, who wrote, directed and produced this film, also stars as the head of the Public Defender’s Office, and is instrumental in putting together all the pieces of this puzzle – with the help of 95- year-old Oscar nominee Cicely Tyson (Sounder), who is just as powerful an actor as ever, her age notwithstanding, and showing up just in time to save the day and steal the movie, just as she did in “Fried Green Tomatoes” thirty years ago.
Clocking in at two hours, A Fall From Grace takes a while to get going, but when it kicks in –it kicks in! It is evocative of ‘80s classics “Extremities” and “The Burning Bed”, both starring Farrah Fawcet as a woman who has reached her breaking point and takes matters into her own hands.
This is the perfect antidote to all the current ho-hum streaming “series” and unsatisfying action films in the theaters. Whether you’re a member of Tyler Perry’s fan club or you’re a TPV (Tyler Perry virgin), you’ll most likely be cheering for the sequel that is teased at the end.