Age Appropriateness: All
Parental Involvement: Not required, but you might find yourself enjoying it too!
Grace Thomas was Girl of the Year 2015
I have not yet read Grace’s books, I will soon and will update this review when I do. So I cannot speak to any similarities and differences between the books and movie.
Grace Stirs up Success is an adorable feel-good movie, and while it is directed at children, I believe it can be very enjoyable for all ages.
Grace starts out by asking her parents to buy her a new bike so she has a better chance of winning a bike race. She is quite dismayed when they tell her they don’t mind her getting a new bike – but she has to buy it herself. She thinks about how to earn the money for her new bike and decides to start a business selling baked goods, which is in alignment with the “Family” business. Grace’s grandparents own a bakery, which Grace frequently helps them at. Grace enlists her two friends to help her sell her cupcakes, and has some great marketing strategies in place.
Immediately after her first day of sale, Grace’s mom informs her that the two of them are going to Paris for the rest of the summer to help her mom’s sister who is 8+ months pregnant and now on bed-rest. It turns out that Grace’s Aunt and Uncle Also own a bakery, but in Paris.
When they arrive in Paris, Grace meets her step-cousin Sylvie, who is largely unimpressed with Grace as a person and her presence to help her family. Throughout the rest of the movie, Grace works hard to be more conscientious of Sylvie’s pet peeves with her as well as trying to be nice, even when Sylvie is not.
At home, Grace is used to near constant praise for her baking, and on many levels feels like she knows everything when it comes to baking, however, when she begins working at her aunt and uncle’s bakery in Paris, she soon learns through a series of both inexperienced and comical mistakes that she still has a lot to learn and that using the same techniques for every kind of product is never going to turn out well. Grace is deeply wounded when her uncle tasks her with refilling the napkin holders instead of baking. She talks to her mom about her disappointment and her mom advises her to make herself useful in any way she can, but to step back and watch the people around her and see what she could learn from them. Grace starts to notice things about other people and how they bake, run the business, handle marketing and other things, which she then starts trying to practice and incorporating into her own behavior. In the end, she learns a lot and is aware that she still has a lot to learn.
When she and her mom return home, Grace learns that her grandparent’s are going to have to close their bakery. She begs them to give her a chance to help them save it, and applies the lessons she learned in Paris to come up with an aggressive re-branding strategy to drum up business, which is extremely effective, until the oven at the bakery dies and they don’t have any extra money to replace it.
One evening, Grace receives an email that she has been accepted as a competitor on Master Chef Junior, a baking competition with a $100,000 prize. She discovers that her grandmother had sent in an application without her knowledge before she left for Paris.
The Master Chef segment is a bit long, and shot with different quality of video so you feel like you’re no longer watching the movie, but instead watching a TV Cooking show. Which is honestly, a little bit trippy! You watch as Grace tries to remain collected against the competition and find the Je ne sais quoi her uncle taught her to look for in every dish.
I won’t give any details on the ending, but I will say that Grace handles every challenge thrown at her throughout the movie with a great deal of dignity and openness to learning. She is a pretty ingenious business person, and seems to never run out of passion and perseverance, and from the movie, I would call her an excellent role-model and inspiration for kids of all ages.
Younger kids with shorter attention spans may struggle with this movie. It has a 102 minute runtime, and it drags just a little bit even for adults at the end of the 2nd act and beginning of the 3rd. It feels more like you are watching 2 different movies instead of one continuous one. But the “Drag” part is pretty brief. I believe early elementary school age kids will have an easier time becoming wrapped up in the story and maintaining interest.
I couldn’t find any negative or problematic content at all, no coarse language, sexually charged content, anger, bratty behavior, or upsetting real-life topics. It just isn’t anywhere to be found – which is amazing in a landscape of “kids” films that have a tendency to think at least some of the above content is necessary to tell a story and deliver a powerful message. It’s not. And this movie tells a great story spectacularly well, and gives great messages without any troubling content at all.
Grab your copy of Grace Stirs Up Success, today!
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