At the Sundance Film Festival “Grace Is Gone,” by first-time director James Strouse and featuring John Cusack, has won the the dramatic audience award and the Waldo Salt screenwriting award. John Cusack stars as a former soldier - Stanley- home from the front caring for his two daughters while his wife continues to serve in war-torn Iraq. Early in the film, Stanley is delivered the news that his wife has been killed in Iraq. Rather than tell his daughters of their mother's death, Stanley attempts to flee the reality of absence by taking his children on a road-trip. James Rocchi
, from Cinematical, describes the film as a needed look at contemporary reality:
"There's a certain play of light in Grace is Gone, and carefully composed moments as well as a swiftly-captured realism that still looks wonderful. Grace is Gone has the look of life, and the glow of art. The film is as affecting -- and as ultimately human -- as one might hope, and it still brings home the ugly real fact that for too many Americans, the evening news isn't just background noise."
John Cusack in an interview with the New York Times said,“I find [the Iraq war] to be the most cowardly, egregious political act of my lifetime. It was callous, it was brazen, and an attempt to hide what this war is doing to people. And not just Americans. I know this might make me sound like a bad person, but I will say it anyway — Arab life has as much value as American life. Too many people are being killed.”