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Why stay in your lane when you can veer into other roadways with your own turbo-charged vehicles? With “A Fall from Grace,” mogul Tyler Perry swerves back and forth between his usual woman-centered melodrama and a quasi-thriller. Shot over just five days in late 2019, the writer-director-actor’s first made-for-Netflix feature hits trademark beats that might satisfy loyalists but are sure to make others wince or opt out.
As is his intriguing way, however, Perry delivers some grace notes with the casting. Crystal Fox is especially compelling when playing the title character in her jailhouse state, defeated and shell-shocked. Over the years, a number of stellar female actors have tithed their time to the church of Tyler Perry. Here it’s Perry regulars Cicely Tyson, in an understated but pivotal turn, touching for its frailty (the character’s, not Ms. Tyson’s), and Phylicia Rashad as Grace’s deeply supportive best friend, Sarah.
Grace - Waters - Chatter - Car - Radio
We first learn about Grace Waters from incessant chatter on the car radio as 26-year-old public defender Jasmine Bryant heads to the office. Bresha Webb plays the reluctant lawyer who lands the Waters case. And it’s Jasmine’s journey as much as it is the accused’s.
Earlier, Jasmine’s impossibly handsome and tender husband Jordan (this is Tyler Perry after all) crawled into bed after a particularly hard night. In the opening scene, we saw the young police officer (Matthew Law) almost talk a woman off a roof. Almost. Crying and raging about her husband, her savings, she asked bitterly, “How could I be so stupid?”
Matter - Jasmine - Callers - Hosts - Death
No matter which channel Jasmine turns to, she can’t escape callers and talk-radio hosts riffing not on the death of a wife wronged but on the guilt of the local woman who murdered her husband. More than a few female callers demand Grace’s swift execution.
Perry cast himself as the heavy here. Not...
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