Clash Between Faith, Fame Reaches Fever Pitch in Grace Unplugged
- Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Whether modern films about musical fame are based on true stories (Ray, Walk the Line, Cadillac Records) or decidedly fictionalized tales (Dreamgirls, Burlesque, Sparkle), they all share cautionary themes that underscore the high price of reaching for the stars.
And considering the continued popularity of televised talent contests such as The Voice, American Idol and The X Factor, and how Miley Cyrus and other celebrities' latest attention-grabbing antics regularly share the spotlight with the world's more pressing news, fame's downside is a storyline that probably won't fall out of fashion any time soon. Not even the early demise of respected talent (Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and most recently, Glee star Cory Monteith) is enough to dim the starry-eyed hopes of those more than willing to trade anonymity for a shot at the elusive "big time."
And it's not like believers in Jesus are immune from the pull of having their name in lights. Whether it's someone hoping to make a splash in the general market or merely aiming for a successful transition from the church choir to Nashville's CCM scene, it's that specific caveat, the clash of faith and fame, that ultimately distinguishes the October 4 release of Grace Unplugged from the films referenced above.
More than just the mere chronicling of a young woman's misplaced ambition, however, Grace Unplugged shares strong connection points with the Prodigal Son parable in Luke 15:11-32 and also serves as a pertinent reminder that every young person's faith eventually has to become his or her own.
The Story Behind the Story
After watching a close friend's family struggle with their daughter's departure from the Christian beliefs she once held dear, Grace Unplugged's writer/director Brad Silverman (No Greater Love) says he was struck by how they handled the situation with such a tremendous sincerity of heart.
"In that sincere state of heart I saw the trial Russ and his wife were going through," Silverman shares. "This is a big issue in churches today—kids growing up and struggling with making their faith their own. That's the journey Grace goes on [in the movie]."
But rather than descend into full-on preaching mode, Silverman says he immediately felt a strong sense of conviction that Grace Unplugged shouldn't be trite or heavy-handed in addressing the issues. Rather, he hoped to deliver a powerful "coming-of-age story of a girl who has to wrestle with her heart, not a story on the evils of Hollywood."
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