Review by Camden Ferrell
A Fall from Grace is the first Netflix film from writer/director Tyler Perry. Unfortunately, it’s a rather tepid Netflix debut from the renowned entertainment giant. This movie suffers from an excess of melodrama that overshadows an already sloppy narrative.
This film is about Jasmine, a lawyer and the woman she represents and defends from her serious charges. As Jasmine learns more about her defendant, dark and surprising secrets slowly become revealed. This legal drama isn’t anything groundbreaking, and its concept is incredibly derivative. However, this is still a genre that’s ripe for compelling narrative, but this film doesn’t use that to its advantage.
The writing of the film is mostly devoid of any personality. The characters don’t feel fleshed out or thoroughly engaging, and it feels rather monotonous for most of its runtime. The dialogue is fairly standard for the genre, and it doesn’t feel clever or thoughtful for the most part. It’s a pretty mindless script that was most likely written to be easily digestible, and it never trusts the intellectual abilities of its audience.
One of the few decent aspects of this film is its acting. Crystal Fox plays Grace, the defendant, and she actually does a solid job despite her weak material. She is able to give some emotional range to the film, and a lot of the film revolves around her recollection of the crucial events in the trial. It’s not phenomenal, but it was mildly effective, and it’s probably the film’s strongest feature.
The technical aspects of this film were also fairly lackluster throughout. Even though the color grading is justifiably bleak, the shot composition is lifeless, and it doesn’t give the film the energy it needs to propel through its story. The film also lacks strong editing, and this leads to many scenes feeling off putting and a little slow.
In a recent interview, it was revealed that this movie was shot in 5 days. This is a fact that is painfully obvious in the final cut of the film. It feels like scenes weren’t executed to the best of their ability and that this was intended to be a quick and inexpensive January film for Netflix. The movie isn’t aggressively bad in any way, but it’s just noticeably boring and messy.
While I won’t reveal any further plot details for those who may still be curious about the film, suffice it to say that the final act felt completely out of place. The twists the film takes are a little bizarre and questionable. This is a movie that seems to depend solely on its surprises and melodrama, but it severely missed the landing.
A Fall from Grace brings a rocky start to Netflix’s new year, and it probably is a film almost exclusively for Tyler Perry enthusiasts. It may feature some decent performances, but the sloppy writing and uninspired execution make this movie feel like a chore more than anything else.
A Fall from Grace is currently streaming on Netflix.