When the life of Grace Wyatt, an esteemed music professor, is disrupted by tragedy, she finds herself thrown out of her lavish academic world and into the harsh reality of teaching at-risk youth.
Discarded Things is a powerful and poignant tale of redemption for the rejected. Centered around Grace Wyatt, a music professor, it takes us from tragedy to triumph in the space of an hour and 47 minutes that covers more than 40 years of her life.
The tragedy isn’t just that her fiancé was killed in a car accident that sent her own life spiraling off the rails. The tragedy begins much earlier than that, with her hypocritical abusive pastor father, who cares more for his church than his family. When she gets impregnated at 16 — apparently in the sanctuary by a deacon who feels entitled because his contributions keep the church afloat financially — she is forced by her father to give up her baby boy. The pastor sides with the deacon over the daughter.
All she has is a grainy, black and white photo — and her father even confiscates that. So, it’s hardly surprising that she ends up an alcoholic and addicted to prescription painkillers. Her painful road to recovery, full of writhing in withdrawal, takes her to the Devlin House, a facility for at-risk, misfit youth. They are the discarded things, if you will, who don’t want to hear anything she has to say. They just want to get by.
Grace can give up or fight, and since there’s no solace in surrender, she soldiers on and slowly the house becomes a home. When finances become a problem for the home, she fights harder still. And the kids, whose lives are rising with Grace’s, discover hidden talents that make them just the kind of allies Grace needs.
Though the kids take her a long way to her own healing, there are things that Grace has to work through for herself. As the movie fast-forwards, her mother is aging and her father dying. Can she forgive them — her mother for not protecting her and her father for all the harm he did trying to sound sanctimonious? Will that put back the pieces of a life that has been shattered in so many ways?
The rawness of the emotions is at times expressed in raw language that makes it believable. It doesn’t detract from the story, but the maturity of the story line merits a Dove Seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take:
A disrupted life does not necessarily make for a discarded life. Only if you let it.