The Grace Card’s message stands despite some cinematic stumbles

Posted by The Skyliner on March 23rd, 2011

Elizabeth Pirkle
Staff Writer

“I promise to pray for you every day, ask for forgiveness, grant you the same and be your friend always.” These are the words penned on the “Grace Card,” a slip of paper written by police officer and pastor Sam Wright’s (Michael Higgenbottom) great-great grandfather to his former slave master.

Church-made film The Grace Card takes those messages of forgiveness and friendship to the streets of Memphis with a surprising degree of skill.

Mac McDonald (Michael Joiner) is a Memphis police officer whose life is held together by a thread. With his marriage failing, teenage son rebelling and financial life in ruins, the last thing McDonald needs is to be passed up for a long-awaited promotion at the station. But that is exactly what happens. Officer and part-time reverend Sam Wright is promoted in McDonald’s stead and assigned to be McDonald’s partner. Lone ranger McDonald is far from thrilled with the idea, especially since a tragic accident in the past has left him with a deep prejudice against African-Americans like Wright.

McDonald and Wright butt heads throughout the story as McDonald’s home life spins out of control, and Wright feels as though he has failed his congregation while struggling to love McDonald despite his apparent racism. In one scene, Wright shares his feelings with his grandfather, George Wright (Louis Grossett Jr., An Officer and a Gentleman). George then shows him the “Grace Card.”

Though he knows those truths are just as true today as when they were written nearly 150 years ago, Wright’s change of heart does not happen immediately. It takes a tragedy striking McDonald and his family for Wright finally to love and serve his partner wholeheartedly; in the process, he also teaches McDonald the lessons of the “Grace Card.”

The Grace Card is the first film made by Calvary Pictures, the movie ministry of Calvary Church in Memphis. Though inspired by Sherwood Pictures, The Grace Card is far superior to Sherwood’s first film venture, Flywheel, and rivals even their latest success, Fireproof, in quality. The Grace Card benefits from an interesting plot, thoughtful script and well-done camerawork, but it is not without its issues.

When it comes to acting, the leads, though they have their lackluster moments, are generally good; however, supporting characters like McDonald’s wife, Sara (Joy Moore), and Wright’s wife, Debra (Dawntoya Thomanson), struggle to give convincing performances. Grossett’s acting experience shows as he gives the best performance of the cast.

The Grace Card struggled musically as well. Though at times the score added to the emotion of a scene, viewers were jarred from a few key moments by songs that were inappropriately placed.

But despite the stumbles expected of Calvary’s first motion picture, The Grace Card delivers powerful messages and even confronts a touchy subject like racism. The Grace Card is a film that is not afraid to take a look at the harshness of life and teaches that, though difficult, extending grace and forgiveness is always worth it.


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9 Responses to “The Grace Card’s message stands despite some cinematic stumbles”

  1. Lori Stratman

    I absolutely love this movie and thought it was awesome. I am not happy that some want to criticize it. Pathetic. Do people not realize that how well they act, or how well placed a song is, or whatever other complaint you find does not matter. They put together an awesome Christian movie with a great plot, story line, and moral. Who cares about the rest but the pathetically rich who do nothing but selfish things with their money. Half the time when they do give to charity it is just that selfishly giving to just to say they did. How about we enjoy movies and actually learn from them instead of criticizing them. Also All the Sherwood Pictures and Calvarys Pictures are movies people should be watching and learning from! I even loved Flywheel! Come on now we are supposed to be Christians not critics.

  2. Osael Barrantes

    I think the message of Grace Card goes directly to the inmost part of the Heart. We were watching the movie as a mixed family;I mean catholics and bornagainers, and we had teary eyes. Congratulations .The performance or acting is pretty cool, you are all pro……..

  3. I truly enjoyed the movie and was moved to action by the message of faith and forgiveness.

  4. ted l smith

    I loved this movie,we need movies like this to remind us of the real meaning of life

  5. This was an awesome movie. A must see! It is a message we all need to remember about each other. This is great. I cried. It was heartfelt as well as spiritual.

  6. Cindy Wells

    I just saw the movie and I thought it was very good. It is nice to be able to sit down and enjoy a true family show, there are so few now a days.

  7. Thank you for making this movie. A few of the events depicted in this movie parallel events which have happened in my life. In November, 2009 my sister, a police officer and three other officers in Lakewood, Washington were ambushed and shot dead while starting their day protecting and serving. The single gun-man was an African American. He also solicited six other family and friends to help him to get away with it. Of course, I was angry, heartbroken and sad. I grieved…and the healing has been a journey … I didn’t dare talk outloud of my indifference, resentment and bitterness towards this man and his family. I buried those thoughts and feelings deep within my own heart. Recently, I had asked the Lord to give me a heart for the lost and the hurting. The Lord revealed to me in order to love – truly love as he does – I needed to admit my own hate (indifference, dis-like, racism it’s all the same in God’s eyes)and ask Him to forgive me. However, I had to also forgive the gunman and his family. In my case, hate was subtle. I tried to justify those feelings, and I hung on to the pain that was mine. It didn’t feel right to turn a blind eye. But scripture says, Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer (1 John 3:15). I was a “murderer” in God’s eyes! I deserved the judgment coming to me if I did not get down on my knees and ask his forgiveness. I have asked His forgiveness and continue to check myself for any unforgiveness I harbor in my heart for others and especially for those who were responsible for my sister’s death. I ask God to help me every day by making a promise to God to remember the sacrifice He made for me sending his son Jesus to be nailed on that cross to save me while I was so deep within my own sin.
    Thank you again for your deligence and focus doing God’s will.

  8. Lynnette DiPietro

    The Grace Card is a wonderful movie for everyone to watch! The story line, the actors and the true meaning of the Grace Card was incredible! If only we all could remember to pull out the grace card when healing and forgiveness is needed, maybe the world would be a better place!

  9. Brenda Manzanares

    My husband and I just finished watching this film and we’re very touched by its message. I felt it was well done and congratulations to all involved in this film’s production… How refreshing to have an offering from the film industry that is both enlightening and edifying.

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