If there was one saving grace in this mess of a movie, it's Crystal Fox's performance.
Technically titled Tyler Perry's A Fall from Grace, the latest film from the jack-of-all-trades is the first for Netflix. Perry, who last year opened his new studio in Atlanta, produced the suspense film in the span of five days, a feat that is noticeable from the moment the opening credits begin.
Crystal Fox, who many may recognize from her television work on "In the Heat of the Night" or "Big Little Lies," stars as the titular Grace, a businesswoman and upstanding citizen on trial for the murder of her late husband. The indelible Phylicia Rashad plays Grace's best friend, Sarah. Mehcad Brooks is the handsome lover-turned-husband who meets his demise. And, Cicely Tyson pops up for some reason. Even Perry, who wears multiple hats behind the camera, dons a beard and serves as a minor role that gives him plenty of opportunities to distance himself from his famed Madea character.
The premise of A Fall from Grace holds the potential to elevate its familiarity to the height of something new and exciting. Unfortunately, Perry misses almost every opportunity to discover something new about the revenge love plot. His cast is serving their best, but when the transitions reveal lapses in attention to detail (a quick search on Twitter will reveal montages of scenes containing blatant wig continuity misses or scenes where scripts were still in the shot), it's hard to stay focused on the drama at hand. His cast is serving their best, but when the script is lacking in any sense of depth, it's hard to take any of it seriously.
It's no wonder the film debuted on a streaming service and it makes sense that Netflix would try to capitalize on the scope of success of many of Perry's films. Many will venture into the soap opera, over the top drama because they aren't having to commit to spending the money to leave their houses. And, for that, the film does serve as a decent mid-Sunday, mindless piece of entertainment that could also very well be on Lifetime or Hallmark Channel.
If there was one saving grace in this mess of a movie, it's Fox's performance. The long-time actress does go to lengths in showcasing her talents. It's a shame that her efforts are spent in a production that doesn't respect the craft enough to spend longer than five days exploring the components of filmmaking. It leaves one to wonder what a film like this would be if the behind-the-scenes hats were given to many, instead of few, and time and dedication were as important as the end product and quick release.