To be quite honest I rarely give Tyler Perry the time of day. Almost none of his films have ever interested or entertained me although I find him to be a better actor than director and it’s important to note that I’m not his target demographic. But in my quest to be more inclusive of streaming services in my reviews I decided to give his first Netflix original a try, a thriller called “A Fall from Grace”. Focusing on a public defender named Jasmine (played by Bresha Webb) who is charged with defending an accused husband killer named Grace, played by Crystal Fox, only to realize things may not be what they seem, “A Fall from Grace” sports an intriguing if derivative concept, but does the final result do anything to help it stand out from the crowd? Let’s take a look in my review of “A Fall from Grace”.
I would say this film sports a pretty accurate name, but Tyler Perry’s career has never really been that graceful. Successful yes, but not exactly filled with great cinematic content. While “A Fall from Grace” is much more tolerable than most of his comedies, it’s still a pretty bad flick. It’s sad too because it’s yet another film putting a strong focus on African American characters which has been a great trend in recent years, but regardless bad is still bad. The story revolves around public defender Jasmine’s attempts to defend a woman named Grace after she openly admits to killing her much younger husband Shannon, played by Mehcad Brooks. The crux of the film is the audience and Jasmine’s uncertainty of whether or not Grace is actually guilty of a crime and what actually happened to Shannon. It’s a familiar setup with familiar themes and familiar drama…you get the picture. It’s all just way too derivative with very little personality of its own.
The biggest problem with “A Fall from Grace” is that it just doesn’t hold your attention. I genuinely wanted to enjoy this movie. Thrillers can be fun in the right hands. “A Fall from Grace” is as tedious a viewing experience as I’ve had to endure in my going in four years doing these reviews. It’s just plain boring. There’s very little to engage you and the mystery of what truly happened is sloppily presented in the form of flashbacks that never really build on the drama, atmosphere or suspense. You have to care and be invested in order to follow the mystery and “A Fall from Grace” fails to capture the energy required to draw you in and keep you wanting to known more so being spoon fed small pieces of the narrative through backtracking feels tedious not exciting. The fact that the script and acting feel wooden and uninteresting, save for a standout performance Crystal Fox, doesn’t help.
There was potential here too. For a while I thought the movie would take a cliché but worthy direction focusing on the plight of an elder black woman who may or may not have been justified in her actions. Female empowerment and unjust treatment of minorities by law enforcement and courts are both heavy topics of discussion in the modern world…but sadly “A Fall from Grace” settles more for typical courtroom drama and thriller tropes than trying to say anything deep or interesting. Perry tries to add an exciting end to the film with an interesting twist, but again it’s an idea that we’ve seen many times over and completely unravels the film in all the wrong ways. There’s nothing truly shocking or memorable about any of it resulting in a predictable slog of a film that serves more as effective white noise than a sit-down viewing from the streaming provider.
I know my opinion likely doesn’t matter much with this one and honestly maybe it shouldn’t, but I gave it a chance so this is what I think. Tyler Perry has never been my favorite director and I’m not a member of his core audience and I honestly don’t know if this movie is up to par with his fans’ expectations. But I did decide to give it a shot and went in with an open mind and still I ended up finding it difficult viewing in all the wrong ways. It’s not even memorably bad, it’s just all around forgettable, unengaging, and lacks any essence of effective thrills. If you enjoy Perry’s products this might be enough to win you over one more time, but for me it’s just dull. While I have yet to find a film featuring Perry’s direction that I actually truly enjoy, at least I remember many of them for better or worse. This movie however I’ll quickly and thankfully forget.