The Grace Kelly Story (1983)

The Grace Kelly Story (1983)
 
 

The Bricklayer's Daughter

Cheryl Ladd as Grace Kelly in The Grace Kelly Story (1983)

When it comes to biopics there is always the case that there are biopics which dig beneath the surface to tell the truth whilst others deliver a story which resembles the public's perception of the person in question. The made for TV biopic "The Grace Kelly Story" is the second of these as we get a dramatization of Grace Kelly's life which is very sweet and fairytale like but fails to go any deeper than to say her father was not approving of Grace's decision to become an actress. Now this may be because this was released just a few months after Grace Kelly's tragic death in a car accident but it means that "The Grace Kelly Story" is a movie for those who loved the public persona of Grace Kelly rather than those who want the real story.

As already mentioned "The Grace Kelly Story" aired in the USA just a few months after Kelly's death and her death is not included in this story instead it focuses on her going from a young woman to her fairytale wedding day. In fact we get a rather unnecessary intro of Grace as a young girl (played by Christina Applegate) feeling left out from family events due to having a cold. Now the thing is that what we get is re-enactments, we get to see Grace struggle during acting class, struggle in auditions, doing adverts and also when she finally made it into movies with recreations of scenes from "Mogambo" and "Rear Window". All of which is nice and plays to the public persona of Grace being very much a lady, a beautiful young woman with a certain air about her but that is all it does.

Ian McShane and Cheryl Ladd in The Grace Kelly Story (1983)

What you don't get in "The Grace Kelly Story" is the truth, you don't get to really know the woman behind the public persona and what drover her on, her motivations and also her affairs because it is known that Grace did have affairs with some of her leading men. It is a missed opportunity to really make the character feel believable rather than coming across as a daughter of a wealthy business man who behaved as a perfect lady. The closest it comes to finding depth is in showing her father's disapproval of Grace becoming an actress and his constant love of the sporting members of the family. In fact the Kelly family are portrayed as if they were the Kennedy's and very little mention is made to the fact that her father started out as a bricklayer.

Of course any movie about a film star is going to have big problems when it comes to casting and whilst there are occasions when Cheryl Ladd captures the beauty of Grace Kelly far too often it doesn't feel right. Now as for Ladd's performance well she does what I am sure was intended which was to play Grace as a sweet, loveable and very much the lady but it makes it a thin portrayal. As for the other significant people which include Ian McShane as Prince Rainier of Monaco and Lloyd Bridges as Jack Kelly well they play their characters, not in what I would say was an authentic way but in keeping with the tone of the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "The Grace Kelly Story" is the sort of biopic which will entertain those who don't want the truth but want a sweet dramatization of the public persona of a star they like. But as such for those who watch "The Grace Kelly Story" hoping to get to know the real Grace Kelly will come away knowing nothing that they didn't already know.

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