What You Need To Know:
RUNNING FOR GRACE is a beautiful portrait of Hawaii. David Cunningham does a great job directing the cast. Ryan Potter as Jo makes a great hero, and Jim Caviezel as Dr. Reyes makes a great villain. The script contains some structural flaws. For example, the real villain enters halfway into the movie. These flaws aren’t as serious as they usually would be, however, because the scenery and the setting’s historical significance are so powerful. RUNNING FOR GRACE is worth watching, both as a historical drama and as a morality tale refuting racism by the Grace of God.
RUNNING FOR GRACE opens during a severe flu epidemic in Hawaii in 1919. The Japanese workers are suffering the most. A little half-breed boy discovers his Japanese mother, who’s been hiding out, is dead. He follows the cart carrying her body down to the town. At the same time, a little girl named Grace Danielson, the plantation owner’s daughter, discovers her mother is dead from the flu. When these two little children see each other, they are smitten with one another.
The new local doctor, Dr. Lawrence (played by Matt Dillon), sees Jo, the little Japanese half-breed, being abused. He decides to take him under his wing and make him his assistant.
Ten years later, Jo has turned into a handsome young man and Grace into a beautiful young woman. When Grace sprains her ankle, Dr. Lawrence is out of town, so Jo treats her. When Mr. Danielson finds out, he’s furious. Danielson is having his own problems. His plantation is bankrupt. When he goes to the main town, he brings back Dr. Reyes, played by Jim Caviezel, whom he says is a real doctor. Reyes, whose first wife died, takes an interest in Grace, but Grace loves Jo. Dr. Lawrence is trying to adopt Jo even after all these years, but Jo’s mixed-race status has prevented that from happening.
Dr. Reyes asks Danielson for Grace’s hand in marriage, and it’s clear he’s seeking Danielson’s plantation and fortune but doesn’t know Danielson is bankrupt. When Dr. Reyes is called to take care of the Japanese foreman on Danielson’s plantation, it’s clear he’s not the doctor he says he is, and it’s clear that Lawrence and even Jo have more medical knowledge.
Will Dr. Reyes marry Grace or will Jo? And, will the intrinsic racism in Hawaiian society be overcome by God’s grace?
RUNNING FOR GRACE is a beautiful portrait of Hawaii. David Cunningham does a great job directing the cast. Ryan Potter as Jo makes a great hero, and Jim Caviezel as Dr. Reyes makes a great villain. The script contains some structural flaws, such as the Page 17 plot point occurs on Page 31, and the real villain enters halfway into the movie. However, these flaws aren’t as serious in this movie as they usually would be, because the scenery and historical significance of the setting are so powerful. RUNNING FOR GRACE is worth watching, both as a historical drama and as a morality tale refuting racism by the Grace of God.
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