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Saving Grace is a 2000 Britishmarker comedy film, directed by Nigel Cole and based on a screenplay by Mark Crowdy and Craig Ferguson. It was co-produced by Fine Line Features, Homerun Productions, Portman Entertainment, Sky Pictures, and Wave Pictures and filmed in Londonmarker and the villages of Boscastlemarker and Port Isaacmarker in Cornwallmarker, starring Brenda Blethyn, Ferguson, and Martin Clunes, among others. Distributed by 20th Century Fox in major territories, the film premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, where it won Cole the Audience Award for "World Cinema."

Critical reaction to the film was generally positive and it received favorable notice for an independent British comedy film, eventually grossing $24,325,600 worldwide, following its theatrical release in the United States. In addition, the picture was awarded by the Norwegian International Film Festival and the Munich Film Festivalmarker, also spawning a BAFTA Award nomination for Crowdy, and ALFS Award, Golden Globe and Satellite Award nominations for Blethyn and her performance.


Unexpectedly widowed, prim and proper housewife Grace Trevethyn finds herself in dire financial straits when she inherits massive debts her late husband had been accruing for years. Faced with losing her house, she decides to use her talent for horticulture and hatches a plan to grow potent marijuana which can be sold at an astronomical price, thus solving her financial crisis. Grace and her gardener's efforts to hide their illegal enterprise from the quaint and curious townsfolk and market their product comprise the remainder of the film.


  • Brenda Blethyn as Grace Trevethyn, a middle-aged newly widowed woman who is faced with the prospect of financial ruin and turns to growing marijuana under the tutelage of her gardener in order to save her family home. Blethyn, who was Ferguson's first choice, signed on the movie for two years before shooting.
  • Craig Ferguson as Matthew Stewart, Grace's gardener. Ferguson created the playful character with himself in mind. "I saw him as a decent chap who happens to like a bit of marijuana," Ferguson said. "He really cares about Grace and he wants to save her."
  • Martin Clunes as Dr. Martin Bamford, a friend of Matthew. Clunes' character was spun-off into a pair of "prequel" films focusing on how he ended up in Cornwall, and later reworked into the ITV television series Doc Martin, which states in its ending credits that the character was derived from the film Saving Grace.
  • Valerie Edmond as Nicky, Matthew's frowning girlfriend. Edmond won the role of the village's fishing captain in a large open casting call.
  • Tcheky Karyo as Jacques Chevalier
  • Jamie Foreman as China MacFarlane
  • Bill Bailey as Vince
  • Diana Quick as Honey Chambers
  • Tristan Sturrock as Harvey
  • Phyllida Law as Margaret Sutton
  • Linda Kerr Scott as Diana Skinner
  • Leslie Phillips as Rev. Gerald Percy
  • Paul Brooke as Charlie
  • Ken Campbell as Sgt. Alfred Mabely
  • Clive Merrison as Quentin Rhodes


Commercial success

The film was released on May 19, 2000 in the United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker, where it grossed £3,000,000 during its theatrical run. Although it took a tenth of simultaneously-released Gladiator's box office haul only, Saving Grace was, however, considered a "good showing" in consideration of the film's low budget.

In the United Statesmarker the film opened on August 4, 2000, where it soon emerged as a small box-office surprise during the slow-seasoned summer. Having originally opened at 30 screens, it was eventually showing on more than 870 theatres (Fine Line had only planned to open it across 200 screens) during its most successful weeks in early September 2000, when Saving Grace averaged takings of $3,351 per theatre - more than hits like X-Men and Hollow Man. It eventually grossed £12,178,600 overseas.

Critical reaction

The critical reception of the film was fairly positive, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a 62% Fresh approval, and the review scores aggregate website Metacritic giving it a 62/100 rating. Jonathan Crow from Allmovie gave the film three out of five stars, calling it "wacky British comedy" with a "Waking Ned Divine (1998) meets Up in Smoke (1978)" effect. Roger Ebert gave the film a "two thumbs up" rating, stating that "the setup of Saving Grace is fun, and Blethyn helps by being not just a helpless innocent but a smart woman who depended too much on her husband and now quickly learns to cope." However, he criticized the film for its "more or less routine" ending: "We're left with a promising idea for a comedy, which arrives at some laughs but never finds its destination." Dana Stevens from The New York Times called the film "this summer's bait for the Anglophiles," meaning "that they're English and elderly apparently makes their antics screamingly funny to people who would turn up their noses at similar humor in a film like Scary Movie."


Music from the Motion Picture album

Track Listing
  1. "Introduction" (Mark Russell) – 1:02
  2. "Grace's Theme" (Mark Russell) – 2:42
  3. "Take a Picture" (Filter) – 5:55
  4. "Make Me Smile " (Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel) – 4:07
  5. "Spirit in the Sky" (Norman Greenbaum) – 3:56
  6. "Will You Give Me One? (film dialogue) – 1:12
  7. "Sunshine at Last" (Koot) – 4:31
  8. "Grace in Notting Hill" (Mark Russell) – 2:57
  9. "Human (Tin Tin Out Mix)" (The Pretenders) – 3:52
  10. "Drugden" (Mark Russell) – 2:46
  11. "Might as Well Go Home" (Plenty) – 3:17
  12. "Would You Like Some Cornflakes? (film dialogue) – 0:22
  13. "Wise Up (Car Port Mix)" (AFT) – 3:12
  14. "New B323" (film dialogue) – 0:41
  15. "Cornwall Chase" (Mark Russell) – 3:01
  16. "Accidental Angel" (Sherena Dugani) – 3:57
  17. "Witchcraft" (Robert Palmer) – 3:17
  18. "All Things Bright and Beautiful (Mark Russell) – 2:51

Release history

Region Date
Irelandmarker May 19, 2000
United Kingdommarker
Switzerlandmarker June 15, 2000
Switzerlandmarker June 15, 2000
United Statesmarker August 4, 2000
Germanymarker August 17, 2000
Norwaymarker September 1, 2000
Netherlandsmarker September 17, 2000
Israelmarker October 5, 2000
New Zealandmarker
Australia October 12, 2000
South Africa October 20, 2000
Francemarker October 25, 2000
Hong Kongmarker November 9, 2000
Belgiummarker December 6, 2000
Italymarker December 13, 2000
Icelandmarker December 22, 2000





Martin Clunes starred in two television film prequels to this film, made by BSkyB: Doc Martin and Doc Martin and the Legend of the Cloutie, in which viewers learn that Bamford, a successful obstetrician, finds that his wife has been carrying on extramarital affairs behind his back with his three best friends. After confronting her with the news, he decides to leave London and heads for Cornwall, which he remembers fondly from his youth. Shortly after he arrives, he gets involved in the mystery of the "Jellymaker" and, following the departure of the village's resident GP, decides to stay in Port Isaac and fill the gap himself.

Clunes' company tried selling the franchise to ITV who generally liked it, but felt the character of Martin Bamford needed a little something more to him than just being a "townie" who is a little out of his depth in the country. ITV wanted something a little more edgy, so Clunes came up with the idea of the doctor being unusually grumpy. Out of that idea a new series, also called Doc Martin was born. This series is nowadays still a huge success in the UK and the end titles mention that it is "derived from Saving Grace" too.


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