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A film by Maria Finitzo
Written and Directed by Maria Finitzo
Approximate Run Time: 97 minutes
A speeding car on a rain soaked road appears out of nowhere. Witnessing a crash summons back a memory, leaving Grace no choice but to return to the place where her life was forever changed.
From The Black List: Hollywood’s Source for the Best-Unproduced Screenplays:
“Like the O. Henry award-winning masterwork on which it is based, Maria Finitzo’s THE PASSION OF GRACE is nuanced, quiet spoken, and strikingly beautiful. The coming of age story feels languid and nostalgic over much of its first two acts, but eroticism is always surging below its repressed surface, and this brilliant narrative turns in the moment when that passion cannot help but erupt. There are real, lasting, tragic consequences. Ms. Finitzo is going to make a beautiful and deeply moving film.”
“There is an elegant simplicity to the storytelling that allows small moments to shine through with impact. Grace’s conflicting desires – a yearning for passion and a yearning for belonging – set the stage for a compelling character journey. The themes of femininity and Grace’s unapologetic challenge of the gender norms of the time add dimension to an already promising romantic coming-of-age story.”
“An especially well-developed world – the glamorous, yet fleeting (literally, with the changing of the seasons) summer resort setting simultaneously enchants and forebodes from the get-go. While beautiful, this world has the constant feeling that there is much lurking beneath the surface – like Neil’s alcoholism and Mrs. Travers’ illness.”
“These characters intrigue because the writer doesn’t take a stance on their moral standpoints; so much as these standpoints are simply presented and left to the audience to interpret. The result is a compelling and thought-provoking story.”
A near-death accident awakens in Grace, 70, a need to find meaning in a moment in her past when she crossed a line that made all the difference in her life. After fifty years, she revisits the summer community where, at the age of eighteen, she’d met the Travers family and began dating their youngest son Paul.
Although Paul professes his love for Grace, there is no passion between them. Her sexual desire and willingness to give herself to him goes against his notion of the kind of woman he needs her to be. Unable to end their relationship, Grace allows it to continue, even letting Paul believe that one day they will be married. Meanwhile Neil, Paul’s older married half-brother, is the man who fascinates Grace. Although she barely knows him and they have never even spoken, Neil is bold in the way he looks at her, stirring up in Grace fantasies and an overpowering sexual passion.
As the summer passes, Grace and Mrs. Travers, Paul’s mother, become close friends. They share intimate life stories with each other, including their hopes and dreams about love and life. Mrs. Travers is the mother Grace never had. Soon, Grace realizes she wants to be a part of Paul’s family more than she loves Paul. Marriage to Paul, safe and unexciting, becomes a choice between passion lived and passion denied.
At a family dinner during the end of the summer, a minor accident flings her together with Neil, who takes her off in his car for what she believes will be a night of passion. Together, they embark on an odyssey into the countryside, leaving duty and propriety behind. Stopping along the way at bars to drink, Neil teaches Grace how to drive and introduces her to passion when he casually licks her palm. However, the longed for night of sexual passion does not happen. Instead, they share a deeper connection—a vision of life’s promise undercut by its emptiness.
The next morning, when Neil drops her off at the resort, he tells her as they embrace that he has left his mark on her and he is sorry for that. Later that day, Grace learns that Neil has killed himself in a car crash. When Paul comes to see her, he offers her one last opportunity to come back into his family. “Just tell me he made you do it. Just tell me you didn’t want to go.” Grace responds finally with complete honesty when she tells Paul, “I did want to go.” A few days later, Mr. Travers pays her a visit, handing her a $1,000 check. After imagining a gesture of refusal, Grace instead uses the money to give herself a new start in life.
Passion is a story of a crucial moment in a young woman’s life when, for reasons that cannot be explained, she crosses a line that forever changes her life and risks all she holds dear.