Savage Grace is an uneven and slow slog. I’d go as far as calling it boring. It shocks you over and over but in between, the unsympathetic characters provoke anything but distaste, revulsion and confirmation that people with too much money are miserable wagons.
This disturbing mess tells the alleged true story of Barbara Daly Baekeland (Julianne Moore) and Brooks Baekeland (Stephen Dillane); the latter the heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. They have a son, Antony (Eddie Redmayne), who is doted on by his mother and ignored by his father. The family travel the world mingling with persons of high social caliber. Brooks is irritated while Barbara is in her element pushing Tony’s accomplishments onto the annoyed guests.
(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)
Tony’s interest is mildly peaked when he meets hot Spaniard Blanca (Elena Anaya) but that doesn’t stop him from sexing it up with his male buddy (see picture). Barbara pushes Tony and Blanca to sleep together, but soon Brooks runs away with Blanca leaving wife and son behind never to look back. Tony is crushed by his dad’s abandonment and his “inheriting” his mother, her depression and her suicidal tendencies.
Many lurid events follow: Barbara takes up with a gay man. They engage in a ménage à trois with Tony. Tony is numb as his mother’s keeper, confidante and sometimes lover. I wasn’t expecting the final scene where Barbara mounts her son, has sex with him and asks him if he came. When he says no, she gives him a hand job. Once done, they get up and contemplate what to order for dinner. Tony stabs and kills her. After nearly eight years in a psychiatric hospital, Tony is released and moves in with his maternal grandmother. Within a week, he stabs her. She survives but Tony goes to Rikers Island where within the year he’s dead by suffocation with a plastic bag (it was uncertain if it was a suicide or murder).
A fucking mess.
Director: Tom Kalin
Run time: 97 minutes