To be fair, The Duellists (based on Conrad's The Duel) is a type of movie made often in the 1970s -- a low-tech but visually authentic historical drama. As with '70s westerns, the point was to make a new kind of period drama emphasizing cinematic realism at the expense of entertainment values (instead of the other way around). The film is based on a Joseph Conrad story about a quarrel between two soldiers in Napoleon's army which turns into an obsessive folie a deux. Kind of a Gallic High Noon, but not as entertaining as High Noon.
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Grace (Brenda Blethyn) is a middle-aged English housewife whose husband has jumped out of a plane without a parachute, leaving her with a messy legacy of massive debt. Her beloved but modest estate in the friendly little hamlet she calls home is about to be foreclosed, and she just doesn't know how she's going to sustain herself.
She hocks her wedding ring and lets repo men take her riding lawn mower, but she's fast running out of options. That is, until her pot-head gardener Michael (Craig Ferguson) suggests they teach themselves a little DIY hydroponics and transplant his marijuana plants -- currently hidden under a tree at a local vicarage -- into her big, empty greenhouse where they can grow faster and become a source of income.
A choice little comedy with an enthusiastic spirit, "Saving Grace" gets a lot of mileage out of the paradoxical image of an adorable granny type lending her green thumb to the cannabis trade. And Blethyn ("Little Voice," "Secrets & Lies") couldn't be more ideal in the role, playing it at once na?ve and determined. "I'm becoming a drugs dealer!" she giggles effervescently.
Continue reading: Saving Grace Review