"Grace is Gone" tells the story of a father struggling to determine the best way to tell his two grade school daughters devastating news. Stanley Phillips, played by John Cusack, is an everyday man who manages a supply store and takes care of his girls while his wife is away on active duty in Iraq. When Stanley receives the crippling news that his wife Grace has been killed in the war, he finds himself unable to summon the courage to tell his daughters. Stanley decides to take the girls on a road trip while he attempts to figure out how and when to tell them about the loss of their mother.
A difficult topic that confronts the challenge of parenting through grief, "Grace is Gone" is a movie relatable to many. Stanley makes the spontaneous decision to turn the road trip into a visit to a popular Florida amusement park, wanting to save the girls from pain just a little bit longer. His younger daughter Dawn, played by Gracie Bednarczyk, is thrilled and sweetly unaware of Stanley's abnormal behavior. However, his oldest daughter Heidi, played by Shelan O'Keefe, begins to suspect the truth as the film progresses. In the end of the movie, after a whirlwind of adventures, Stanley finally finds it within himself to tell the girls the heartbreaking news.
The original music in the film was masterfully written by Clint Eastwood, bringing further emotion to the story. James C. Strouse both wrote and directed the film. The movie won several awards including the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and the Deauville Film Festival Critics Award. Clint Eastwood was also acknowledged for his music scores, winning the Satellite Award for Best Original Song and nominated for the Golden Globes, USA Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song in a motion picture.