Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 8
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH: Part time preacher Sam Wright (Mike Higgenbottom, standing) is also a police officer with the Memphis police department. He has been paired with Mac (Michael Joiner, not shown) to patrol the streets. Unfortunately Mac became a bigot after the untimely death of one of his children who was killed by a black man. The pairing of the bigot and the preacher leads to severe strains between the two. To see how it all ends, see the movie.

The Grace Card: Black-White Pairing Is Tale of Reconciliation and Redemption

Kam Williams

Seventeen years ago, Mac (Michael Joiner) and Sara McDonald (Joy Parmer Moore) were devastated by the loss of a child who died while a crime was being committed. Sara’s grief led her to focus on the needs of their surviving son (Robert Erickson), but her embittered husband lost his faith and gradually grew emotionally estranged from the rest of the family.

Furthermore, because the man who killed their son was black, Mac became prejudiced against minorities, which ended up sabotaging his career as a member of the Memphis Police Department. When he was passed over for a promotion in favor of an African-American with less seniority, the veteran cop’s resentment turned to rage. To add insult to injury, he was assigned to be that officer’s partner.

Having to share a squad car with a bigot was enough to test the patience of Sam Wright (Mike Higgenbottom), a mild-mannered part-time pastor. Predictably enough, Mac is bothered not only by the sergeant’s skin color but by his humming of Gospel hymns while they’re on patrol.

This situation is the point of departure for The Grace Card, a modern fable that is also the directorial debut of David G. Evans. On a modest budget of just $200,000, Evans has managed to craft a compelling tale that is certain to resonate with the Christian community and with anyone in search of wholesome family fare.

The picture is narrated by Lou Gossett Jr., who doles out helpful spiritual counsel as the voice of reason in his role as the sage elder George Wright. The escalating tension has his grandson Sam praying for self-control (“Lord, don’t let me kill my partner!”), and considering retiring from the force to pursue what he feels is his true calling as a full-time preacher.

Sgt. Wright consults his wise grandfather for advice. He urges Sam to remain a cop since “Jesus’ ministry is out here in the streets.” And to handle hot-headed Mac, Grandpa George recommends compassion, and to play “The Grace Card” rather than “The Race Card,” because, “You can never underestimate the power of grace.”

Sam reluctantly heeds the advice to stick it out with Mac. As the movie progresses the pair find themselves in a life and death crisis that leads them to an opportunity for reconciliation and redemption. Inspiring and uplifting, The Grace Card, is a morality play about the real meaning of forgiveness.

Excellent (3 stars). Rated PG-13 for violence and mature themes. Running time: 103 minutes. Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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