Nearing Grace

Critics Consensus

This coming-of-age story doesn't dig deep enough to offer anything fresh to the genre.



Total Count: 22


Audience Score

User Ratings: 16,115
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Nearing Grace Photos

Movie Info

A teenage boy tries to hold his family together while the girl of his dreams drives him to distraction in this coming-of-age comedy drama. It's 1978, and Henry Nearing (Gregory Smith) and his family are in a state of flux. Henry's mother has died, and now his father, Shep (David Morse), is trying to find himself by quitting his job, buying a motorcycle, and growing out his hair. Henry's brother, Blair (David Moscow), is similarly trying to expand his boundaries by dating a free-spirited girl and experimenting with drugs. Henry, meanwhile, is just trying to get through high school, but a certain girl is making that difficult for him. Grace Chance (Jordana Brewster) is a pretty girl in Henry's class who enjoys wrapping boys around her little finger; it doesn't take long for her to notice he's smitten with her, and she begins flirting with him and getting him to do whatever she wants, even though she already has a boyfriend whom she has no intention of leaving. Meanwhile, Merna (Ashley Johnson), a cute girl who lives nearby, has a crush on Henry and is clearly a better match for him, but she can't get him to notice her, even after she starts dating an older boy to make him jealous. Nearing Grace received its world premiere at the 2005 Los Angeles Film Festival.


Gregory Smith
as Henry Nearing
Jordana Brewster
as Grace Chance
Ashley Johnson
as Merna Ash
David Moscow
as Blair Nearing
David Morse
as Shep Nearing
Brian Doyle-Murray
as Clement C. Haydes
Shannon Doyle
as Rose Nearing
Noah Rosenthal
as Studly Bartender
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News & Interviews for Nearing Grace

Critic Reviews for Nearing Grace

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (12)

  • Moral dilemmas faced by immature teens is fine fare for young-adult fiction, but a movie that wants them to be taken as something bigger needs better management than Nearing Grace can provide.

    Oct 13, 2006 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ted Fry

    Seattle Times
    Top Critic
  • The story here is as dog-eared as an old beach book, and about as deep.

    Oct 13, 2006 | Rating: 2/4
  • The performances by Smith, Brewster and veteran David Morse, as a morbidly depressed widower, elevate Nearing Grace to something near grace.

    Oct 13, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • ...cinematic youth has rarely seemed so convincingly uncertain, and Brewster could definitely drive a young guy crazy.

    Oct 13, 2006
  • Smart, funny and, thanks in no small part to David Geddes' cinematography, it occasionally approaches the poetic.

    Oct 12, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Bursting with hormones, angst, humor and heartbreak, Rick Rosenthal's Nearing Grace, set during the late 1970's in suburban New Jersey, follows a teenager's efforts to survive both the recent loss of his mother and his senior year of high school.

    Oct 12, 2006 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Nearing Grace

  • Jan 31, 2011
    It's easy to call a film cliche, but if that film represents a vision that the filmmaker has always wanted to realize, it's not really fair to dismiss the movie just because someone else got there first. Family dramas often feel the most cliche, because we all live in them everyday. I don't deny that some parts of the film are predictable, but many more are strikingly original and honest - and those are the ones that you'll remember. All of the performances are quite excellent.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2009
    A <i>Some Kind of Wonderful</i>-esque love triangle that doesn't quite resolve as cleanly as you'd expect. Gregory Smith was adorable in <i>Harriet the Spy</i> way back when, but now, he exhibits the puckish naturalism of a young Jean-Pierre Leaud, the smoldering looks of James McAvoy, and the dead-eyed complexity of a hit-not-miss Daniel Radcliffe. The movie is sexy, life-affirming, philosophical, wry - a little bit too ambitious for that matter - but nevertheless, a bittersweet <i>bildungsroman</i>.
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 2008
    Interesting drama. The best friends [a guy and a girl] secretly in love storyline is old, very predictable but still interesting to watch. Good performances by David Morse and Gregory Smith. Jordan Brewster was good as well, she should get more roles.
    Chosen 7 Super Reviewer
  • Apr 10, 2007
    really sweet romantic drama with a great soundtrack. Really enjoyed it!
    Andrea C Super Reviewer

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