If you've logged onto Netflix today you might notice a brand new thriller at the top of your screens: A Fall From Grace, written and directed by Tyler Perry.
The comedian, director, writer, producer, and actor is best known for his absurdist comedy, so it wasn't a huge surprise when his thriller didn't land well with us. There are some who will undoubtedly be entertained, but there are some who will likely tune out after the first 15 minutes.
For the latter, don't worry, we're going to explain just what happened to Grace, Shannon, and Jasmine. There are, as out headline should make clear, spoilers from here on out.
The opening scene, which is wholly disjointed from the film until the very end, is of a cop who can't stop an elderly woman from jumping off her roof. He comes home to his wife Jasmine (Bresha Webb), and it turns out she is the focus of the story.
The movie takes place in two timelines, the 'present-day' timeline of Defense Attorney Jasmine interviewing her client, Grace. The divorced Grace has been charged with the murder of her second, and very young, husband Shannon.
But all is not as it seems and Jasmine, who was sent in because she's a terrible lawyer and only good for plea deals, can tell. She asks Grace about her relationship, and Grace begins to tell us about her marriage to Shannon.
As she describes her life, we also watch it unfold. Grace's husband left her for his secretary seven years ago, and since she hasn't had a relationship with anyone else. Until her friend Sarah (Phylicia Rashad, yes that Phylicia Rashad) encourages her to go to an art gallery opening.
There, Grace meets Shannon – he woos her, flattering her bruised ego and making her feel worthy of love (which we'd like to point out she obviously doesn't need Shannon's approval for – #GirlPower). When he proposes she accepts, but their whirlwind romance soon sours.
Since Grace is telling Jasmine all of this in 'present day' her story is punctuated by Jasmine visiting the jail, and talking to her husband and her abusive, demeaning boss Rory (Perry himself). Jasmine also visits Sarah and sees some creepy person in a robe wandering around behind a door left ajar (remember this, it's also important).
Back in the past, Grace is fired from her job for stealing over $300,000 from the accounts she manages. She also realises that a mortgage has been taken out in her name, and her own bank accounts are overdrawn by four thousand dollars.
Putting two and two together, she realises Shannon has been conning her. When Grace comes home planning to reveal what she knows, she finds him having sex with a young woman in their bedroom.
Grace is forced to wait for him to finish his sexual encounter before she confronts him. As he explains his dastardly plan, she picks up a baseball bat and beats him. But then she leaves, and when she comes back the body is mysteriously gone.
Jasmine is convinced something else happened, and that Shannon may not even be dead. She goes to trial wholly unprepared and does such a bad job it's hard to watch, resulting in Grace being convicted of murder.
But as Grace is being led from the courtroom she notices Sarah wearing the same necklace that Shannon wore when they met, which he said was one of a kind. Grace has several flashbacks, one which includes Sarah brushing her hand against Shannon's affectionately as she leaves the room.
Grace screams that she wants to call her lawyer. Then we cut to Jasmine walking towards Sarah's house when she sees an elderly lady wandering the streets, having come out of Sarah's home. The woman resists being brought back, revealing that Sarah is out buying groceries, but Jasmine forces her.
Once inside the house, the woman says she wants to go home and recites her address – it's the same address that Shannon had taken out a mortgage on in Grace's name. Finally putting it together, Jasmine goes to search the house.
She finds at least a dozen elderly people chained up in the basement. Yep. Jasmine also realises that the woman her husband told her about had also been one of Sarah's victims. But before she can do anything, she's surprised and overwhelmed by someone and dragged away.
Sarah returns home and finds Jasmine tied up in a closet in the basement and says to the kidnapped laywer: "some people never learn, do they," and out of the shadows steps Shannon who adds: "My mama's talking to you."
Dun dun DUN.
Meanwhile, Jasmine's husband sees that Sarah is wanted for identity theft on his police-car computer and rushes to her house. Sarah opens the door but refuses him entry, so he calls Jasmine's phone which he can hear ringing inside Sarah's house.
He busts down Sarah's door, fights her and Shannon, the latter of whom he kills, and frees his girlfriend. It turns out that Shannon, real name Maurice, and Sarah had been scamming vulnerable women for 15 years.
The state of Virginia apologises to Grace and sets her free, but Sarah escapes. The final scene is her on the steps of a new mark's home, offering her services as a carer to a woman's elderly mother who just so happens to have vaguely "worked for some financial institution".
Some people never learn, do they?
A Fall From Grace is now streaming on Netflix.
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