Savage Grace

Rated 2.0

Director Tom Kalin and writer Howard A. Rodman’s movie (from the book by Natalie Robins and Steven M. Aronson) recounts the appalling story of Barbara Baekeland (Julianne Moore), the neurotic socialite who, the story goes, seduced (or raped) her own unstable son to “cure” his homosexuality, only to be murdered by him with a kitchen knife (he later tried to kill his grandmother, too). The story certainly has its sordid attraction, and watching it unfold offers something like the revolted fascination of seeing a snake swallow a rabbit. Also, Moore gives a typically brave performance, as do Eddie Redmayne as son Tony and Stephen Dillane as her narcissistic husband. But Kalin and Rodman give us more savagery than grace; the film is disjointed, cold and uninvolving, a heartless movie about repellent people.