“Running for Grace”
A timeless tale that takes place against the backdrop of the segregated coffee fields in 1920s Hawaii – a coming-of-age journey about a young man who transcends the boundaries of race and class in pursuit of a forbidden love.
“Running for Grace” is a tale that takes place against the backdrop of the segregated coffee fields in 1920s Hawaii. The story focuses on a young orphan boy Joe (Ryan Potter) who is born of mixed race. His father is nowhere to be found and his mother passes away while Joe is still young. He finds a family or father figure when the newly arrived white village doctor (Matt Dillion) arrives on the island and tries adopting the young orphan. We quickly learn that Joe is a runner and he delivers Doc’s medicine to coffee pickers throughout the mountainous region. It is during one of these runs that Joe meets Grace (Olivia Ritchie), the daughter of plantation owner Danielson (Nick Boraine) after she has fallen and hurt her ankle. Joe tries to provide medical attention to her but her father forbids Joe from visiting Grace.
As one can imagine, Joe and Grace slowly start falling in love. Grace’s father demands that a better doctor is brought in to treat her and that is when we are introduced to Reyes (Jim Caviezel), a drunk quack of a doctor. When Grace’s father finds out that he is going bankrupt and is going to lose the coffee plantation, he offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to Reyes. He thinks he is marrying into money. However, Grace’s father has an accident and Reyes mishandles the seriousness of the accident which causes Danielson to die. This starts a race to receive the hand of Grace.
I thought Matt Dillion provided a solid performance as the Doc. He was not only stable but provided a caring and nurturing father figure in the film. was great as well, but I also thought his character seemed rushed at times, even forced. Overall, I enjoyed the film and to me, it was more than a film regarding love. The movie touched on racism, but I never felt like it was over the top or in your face. Director David L. Cunningham does a wonderful job of adding the right combination of drama to the film. The story is set in Hawaii, and the beauty captured on film is breathtaking.