Grace: Repressions

“Grace” is a horror film about a baby who miraculously returns to life after being conceived by her mother and losing her father in an accident. Honestly speaking, I did not enjoy watching the film at all and I would definitely not give it another go. Similar to my experience in “Deadgirl”, I was completely disgusted and grossed out by a number of scenes specifically the ones involving the mother and her child. I could also not understand why such a movie was even counted as a horror film knowing that we were all just utterly bored waiting for something terrifying to occur. For me, “Grace” was more of a drama type of movie which showed how motherhood can be a nerve-wracking stage in a woman’s life. Nevertheless, the horror genre was presented differently particularly as an unpleasant art through the portrayal of a “monster” child who was supposed to be dead.

The film began with a sex scene between a man and a woman wherein the woman was totally dispassionate and uninterested. From this scene, it can be deduced that the woman, Madeline, was either a lesbian or was just desperately trying to conceive a child after several unsuccessful childbirths. Madeline, who is already pregnant, then suffered from the terribly traumatic death of her husband Michael in an accident. Refusing to visit the doctor or go to a hospital, she instead insisted to deliver her child through a midwife named Patricia. After a few minutes upon delivery, the supposed dead fetus was miraculously kicking and alive so Madeline named her Grace. I initially thought that the baby would be one of those demonic child creatures in mythology but obviously she wasn’t. It can also be noticed that Madeline did not have to mourn through the process of losing her husband.  Instead, she concentrated on taking care of Grace to the point of shutting her doors to anyone including the doctor and her mother-in-law Vivian. As the movie goes on, it was revealed that Grace was a special baby who attracted flies and only drank blood instead of milk. One of the worse things that happened was Madeline’s act of desperation in feeding Grace her own blood which resulted to a part of her breast being chewed off.

Throughout the film, a number of sexual and gender issues were presented. In a sense, the movie was quite ironic since it presents motherhood as a painful process rather than something completely normal in life. “Grace” accurately shows the consequences of excessive motherly love in which Madeline sacrifices her own comfort and literally does everything just to provide her child’s necessities. In effect, this somehow destroys the image of women having a natural kind of relationship to children. I think that the real monster in the film was not Grace but Madeline, who killed the doctor and even Vivian in order to protect her child. Moreover, there was also a very disturbing sex scene which involved Vivian letting her husband suck her own breasts. I believe that breastfeeding was used as a substitute for sex and this occurred as a result of the death of Vivian’s son and her desperation to acquire Grace from Madeline. In the final few minutes of the film, references to lesbianism were also made as Madeline, Patricia and Grace were seen all together in a motor home. Lastly, it can be inferred from the movie that Madeline only tried to repress her feelings of depression concerning her husband’s death, motherhood and childbirth all for her own good. “Grace”, therefore, appropriately demonstrates to us that repressions are essential for the subsequent functioning and preservation of a society.

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