Based on a true story and his first major feature film since Swoon, part of the vanguard of New Queer Cinema in the early 90’s, Tom Kalin’s Savage Grace is a sumptuous family drama based on a true life crime.
Julianne Moore is luminous as Barbara Daly, who in 1946 marries into the extremely rich Bakeland family, heirs to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Spanning 30 years, the film follows the birth of her son Tony and their relationship, as he becomes suffocated by his mother and her need for him.
Their decadent, vacuous lifestyle is depicted in all its material glory as they travel through Europe, unravelling on the way, and as the story builds to a devastating conclusion.
As in Swoon Kalin is fascinated by the moral bankruptcy of the very rich and the amoral heart of violent crime; here, his fascination is infectious and beautifully rendered.