Gracie (review)

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There’s not a lot wrong with this feel-good sports drama except that it’s much like the 873 other feel-good sport dramas we’ve seen this year. I like it anyway, for its go-girl spunk and tenderly solemn spirit. Inspired by the real-life story of the childhoods of sibling stars Elizabeth (Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story) and Andrew Shue, it’s the tale of Gracie Bowen, growing up in 1970s New Jersery, who fights the school board for the right to try out for the boys’ varsity soccer team. Feminist angst and a defying of the odds — and the prejudices — of the time ensues. Sixteen-year-old Carly Schroeder (Eye of the Dolphin), as Gracie, has a real-kid charm — like Lindsay Lohan without the hard, old-before-her-time soul — and she’s probably the best reason to see the film: for a glimpse of a future star with all her sweet freshness still intact. There’s an agreeable gentleness, too, in Elizabeth Shue’s performance, playing mom to a character who is basically herself as a child. In fact, the film may appeal more to women who remember the every uphill battle of the 1970s for girls at the time than it will draw today’s kids, who may wonder what Gracie’s — and everyone else’s — problem is in the first place.

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