REVIEW: A Fall From Grace (2020)

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The following is a review of A Fall From Grace — Directed by Tyler Perry.

Tyler Perry is a prolific cinematic triple-threat. Perry often both writes, directs, and stars in his own films, which, at least in the US, are well-known. His claim to fame is a series of films that, for the uninitiated, look like nothing more than a rip-off of Big Momma’s House. I think it’s safe to say that while Perry may be well-known in America, Perry and his Madea-character have not made it big outside of North America. I have never seen any of those films, which Spike Lee has previously criticized profusely, and I don’t think anyone I know in Denmark has either. But, for cineastes, his reputation precedes him nonetheless. However, I think it is fair to say that Tyler Perry’s A Fall From Grace is one of the worst and most absurd original films that Netflix has released.

Tyler Perry’s A Fall From Grace is a straight-to-Netflix thriller about a young and inexperienced lawyer, Jasmine (played by Bresha Webb), and her attempts to convince her first big client, Grace Waters (played by Crystal Fox), to go to court, instead of accepting the plea-deal that Jasmine’s boss, Rory (played by Tyler Perry), desperately wants Mrs. Waters to accept. Grace Waters has confessed to the murder of her younger husband, Shannon DeLong (played by Mehcad Brooks), but when Mrs. Waters explains to Jasmine what happened on the night of his death, Jasmine realizes that there is much more to the story than Mrs. Waters initially revealed.

I am a big fan of courtroom dramas or thrillers about lawyers. I even like supernatural and spooky courtroom dramas like Scott Derrickson’s The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Nevertheless, I thought that Tyler Perry’s attempt at a twisty courtroom drama was tough to watch. It made me want to cover my eyes. Not because I thought it was thrilling or scary, but rather because I thought the film was so incompetent, rushed, and awkward that I found it almost painful to watch from beginning to end. A Fall From Grace was reportedly filmed over the course of five days, and, when you watch the film, you can definitely tell how hurried the production was. From a certain point of view, it may sound impressive that they shot this film in just five days, but, in my mind, this fact only emphasizes how amateurish this film is, at times.

A Fall From Grace features shoddy and uncinematic production value, awkward expositional line deliveries from radio co-hosts and news-reporters, overly long and slightly convoluted flashbacks, thinly written main and supporting characters, as well as ludicrous but predictable plot twists. One scene that is meant to feature fireflies is almost embarrassing as the visual effects make this scene look like a poor student project. Tyler Perry’s performance is distracting, in some part, due to his unconvincing salt-and-pepper wig. In one scene, it looks like they have forgotten to remove the script from the set, as it is seemingly visible in a scene featuring the judge (played by Michael Ray Davis). In general, the film’s trial is absurd and poorly written. The cross-examination montage is ridiculous, and the closing argument-scene is genuinely absurd. I could go on and on about the film’s substandard editing, underwhelming performances, intrusive music, and lighting, but I think I have made my point by now.

Hopefully, Tyler Perry will take his time with his next straight-to-Netflix film, because A Fall From Grace could have certainly benefitted from a second draft, at the very least. It brings me no pleasure to report that the first 2020 Netflix film from a well-known filmmaker, Tyler Perry’s A Fall From Grace, is a rushed and unskilful mess of a film.

1 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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