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Looking For Grace

25 January 2016 | 9:29 am | Hannah Story

"What's being depicted here isn't anguish, it's grief; grief not guttural, but carefully measured."

Looking For Grace tells the story of Grace (Odessa Young, shining yet again), her mum (Radha Mitchell), her dad (Richard Roxburgh), a truck driver (Myles Pollard) and the private investigator (Terry Norris) charged with finding her after she sets off with her best friend (Kenya Pearson) to see Death Dog "two days away". She takes with her thousands of dollars in cash, nicked from her parents' safe.

Each person's story is told separately, each thread building upon the former, creating something textured by slow reveals of each character's inner world. But the weaving of stories makes it hard to become invested in any one character, each of whom struggling their own way in that quiet longing Australian film way. That longing is best portrayed, not only in the work of Young, Mitchell and Roxburgh — who each want something just out of reach — but in the sweeping Western Australian landscapes stretching out of view. It's a film that opens and ends on the vast plains of rural Australia, visuals that are stunning but also overwhelming.

The film fails in that, at its climactic moment, we didn't feel anything. The raw emotion was drawn out too long and quieted, flattened. But then is that what we should expect? What's being depicted here isn't anguish, it's grief; grief not guttural, but carefully measured.