Hello, Movie Buffs!
Set against the backdrop of the coffee fields in 1920s Hawaii, the lines between the Japanese immigrant laborers and the members of the predominantly-white power structure are rigidly maintained. Jo (Cole Takiue & Ryan Potter), an orphan of mixed-race lineage, finds himself ostracized by both groups. Then comes Doc (Matt Dillon), a white doctor from the mainland who is hired as a physician by the autocratic and racist Danielson (Nick Boraine), for his plantation workers. Doc unofficially adopts Jo, because the racial integrity laws prevent him from officially adopting the boy, and employs him as a runner to deliver medicine to his patients, especially the more remote ones. Through the years Jo grows into a young man, he starts taking on more responsibilities as well as learning how to be a doctor from Doc. Now he feels sufficiently competent to fill in for Doc’s absence when Danielson’s lovely daughter, Grace (Olivia Ritchie), conveniently sprains her ankle. All it takes is for one house call to spark a star-crossed romance. Fortunately, Danielson is too preoccupied with stressing over his failing finances to notice the new romance. Unfortunately, as a way to stave off bankruptcy, Danielson plots to have Grace marry the aggressively smarmy and evil Dr. Reyes (Jim Caviezel), who is twice her age. Can these star-crossed lovers ever get together? Or will the racist and autocratic population keep them apart?
Directed by David L. Cunningham (The Seeker: The Dark is Rising) and co-written alongside Christian Parkes, Running for Grace (2018) is a timeless coming-of-age film about a young man who transcends the boundaries of race and class in pursuit of forbidden love. Director Cunningham has created an incredible film, despite being predictable. He pulls back the curtain on some cruel aspects of Hawaii’s history by forcing his characters to face injustice and prejudices at almost every turn. Yet we are also reminded that the human spirit has the strength and resilience to overcome such challenges, and which is what we do on a daily basis. Aside from the story, the visuals were incredible with beautiful sweeping pans of the Big Island that only add to the film’s story.
The cast performances were great. Cole Takiue plays a young Jo and captures the audience in his first acting job, while Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6, Titans) shows star quality as an older Jo. His chemistry with Olivia Richie (I’m Fine, Fish), who is sweet as Grace, is great. Matt Dillon's (Rock Dog, Something About Mary) performance as Doc wins you over, while Juliet Mills (Hot in Cleveland) conveys a lifetime of privilege and imperiousness as the sharp-tongued grandmother. The most unforgettable performance was done by Jim Caviezel’s (Paul the Apostle, Passion of the Christ: Resurrection) as a villain you love to hate, He couldn't be further removed from his raw portrayal as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ ( or his compassionate
Overall, Running for Grace (2018) is a timeless coming-of-age film about a young man who transcends the boundaries of race and class in pursuit of forbidden love. The story conveys strength and resilience against impossible challenges, while also showcasing the beautiful scenery of the Big Island. The cast performances were seamless, the chemistry between Potter and Richie was great, and Caviezel’s performance was unforgettable. All in all, this is a sweet film with a beautiful story. I highly recommend that you check it out.
Final Vote --- 7.5 of 10 stars
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