This was one of those films I watched ages ago and it’s always kind of lived in my brain ever since. Grace of My Heart (1996) is a movie based loosely on women like Carole King, who were pioneering singer/songwriters during the 1960s. In particular, King’s life and career seems to have informed some of the major plot points in the film, though it’s not a straight biopic. Illeana Douglas plays Edna Buxton, the young heiress to a steel fortune who has absolutely no interest in being a socialite and, instead, is determined to pursue her passion, music. Wanting to shed the baggage of her birth name, Edna changes her name to Denise Waverly and runs off to New York City, and the film follows her career trajectory from 1958 to the late 1960s, as she weathers the triumphs and tragedies in her personal life.
The costumes were designed by Susan L. Bertram, who has worked with director Allison Anders on her films Gas Food Lodging (1992), Mi Vida Loca (1993), and “The Missing Ingredient” segment of Four Rooms (1995). If you’ve seen any of those films you will immediately recognize their strong related visuals, and Grace of My Heart isn’t really any different, possessing that unmistakable Anders vibe from the mid-1990s. That’s not to say that the costumes aren’t good — they are pretty faithful to the swath of the 1960s that makes up the bulk of the film, from the prim pencil skirts and pedal pushers with bouffant hairdos to the eclectic late-’60s hippie fashions mixed with Southern California beach chic.
Have you watched Grace of my Heart (1996)? What did you think?