Goodnight, Gracie (2017)

I like what “Goodnight Gracie” has to say about blind faith being pointless, but I wish it was just a better movie. At four minutes, “Goodnight Gracie” doesn’t tell a story but just unfolds events. This happens, and then this happens, and blind faith is dumb! Roll credits. I don’t mind a movie insisting that most times it takes more than faith to get out of a bad situation. Pretty much every time, faith isn’t enough. It’s also about getting up off your ass and doing something about your predicament that can help you or someone else next to you. Director Stellan Kendrick has a lot of ideas about the futility of blind faith, it’s just “Goodnight Gracie” never quite comes together as a cohesive narrative.

Young Gracie, a very religious girl awakens to her mom being hacked up by her boyfriend with an axe. Rather than run, or hide, or call the police, she retreats to her room to read from the bible, hoping to ward away the relentless maniac. The film itself is only four minutes so there is just no set up. There’s some kind of implication as a hanging crucifix next to Gracie falls over and swings upside down, but there’s never an indication what it means. Is something alerting her, or is it just coincidence inspiring her blind faith and lack of survival? Five minutes of set up would have given “Goodnight, Gracie” more of an impact, rather than it feeling like a small dark, and demented joke.

In either case, director Kendricks at least knows how to set a scene, and stages some very gory moments, I just wish we had ten more minutes with these characters. Why is Gracie religious? Did her mother also practice blind faith? Was it her undoing to a psychotic boyfriend and an axe? What happened between them that caused the murder? “Goodnight Gracie” arouses a ton of unanswered questions. Once again, I appreciate director Kendricks commenting about the absurdity of retreating to faith rather than working toward getting something done, but the movie is just abrupt and offers no coherent narrative. Considering this is a proof of concept short, I hope if we get a feature, there’s a lot more to be said about blind faith, and the potential destructiveness of religion.