Savage Grace

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Savage Grace
poster from theatrical release
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Kalin
Produced by Pamela Koffler
Screenplay by Howard A. Rodman
Based on Savage Grace
by Natalie Robins and Steven M.L. Aronson
Starring Julianne Moore
Stephen Dillane
Eddie Redmayne
Elena Anaya
Unax Ugalde
Belén Rueda
Hugh Dancy
Music by Fernando Velázquez
Cinematography Juan Miguel Azpiroz
Edited by John F. Lyons
Distributed by IFC Films
Release date
Running time
97 minutes
Country France
United States
Language English

Savage Grace is a 2007 drama film directed by Tom Kalin and written by Howard A. Rodman, based on the book Savage Grace by Natalie Robins and Steven M.L. Aronson. The story is based on the dysfunctional, allegedly incestuous relationship between heiress and socialite Barbara Daly Baekeland and her son, Antony. The film stars Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane, Eddie Redmayne, Elena Anaya, and Hugh Dancy.

It was an official selection at the 2007 London Film Festival, the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.


The film is based on the true story of Barbara Daly Baekeland (Moore), her husband Brooks Baekeland (Dillane), heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune, and their only child Antony (Redmayne), who was diagnosed with schizophrenia.[1] The story begins with Antony's birth and follows the family to the time of his arrest for the murder of his mother.

Critical reception[edit]

Critics gave the film mixed reviews. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 38 percent of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 89 reviews — with the consensus that "though visually compelling, the lamentable characters in Savage Grace make for difficult viewing."[2] Metacritic, another review aggregator, reported the film had an average score of 51 out of 100, based on 28 reviews.[3]

Peter Bradshaw writing in The Guardian gave the film four out of five stars, describing it as "a gripping, coldly brilliant and tremendously acted movie."[4]


Savage Grace was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay in 2008.[5]

Sam Green[edit]

After the film opened, Baekeland's former lover, Samuel Adams Green (played by Dancy in the film), wrote an article pointing out that elements in the film were factually inaccurate. Referring to the ménage à trois scene of Barbara, Antony, and Sam having sex, he wrote:[6][7]

It is true that almost 40 years ago I did have an affair with Barbara, but I certainly never slept with her son...Nor am I bisexual. ... She started telling people she had had an incestuous relationship with her son as a way of "curing" him of homosexuality... But I don't believe she had sex with Tony. I think she simply enjoyed shocking people.[8]

Green then took legal action against the film makers, which was still unresolved at the time of his death.[6][7]


  1. ^ Fatal seduction
  2. ^ "Savage Grace (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Savage Grace reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (July 11, 2008). "Savage Grace review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 26, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ Sciretta, Peter (February 22, 2009). "The Wrestler Sweeps the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards". /Film. Archived from the original on December 26, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Sam Green - Obituary". The Telegraph. 18 Mar 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Sam Green - Obituary". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Green, S (2008-07-12). "I wasn't to blame for heiress murder, says art expert depicted on screen in 'incest threesome'". Daily Mail. 

External links[edit]