Would you give up what you need . . . to get everything you want?
That’s the question facing talented young singer and aspiring songwriter in the new movie Grace Unplugged. Grace (AJ Michalka) has just turned 18 and aspires to do more than sing in her church’s worship band, led by her father, Johnny Trey (James Denton). He’s a one-time pop star who gave up his life in secular music when he became a Christian. Grace longs to escape his shadow and make a name for herself singing songs about something other than God.
When Johnny’s former manager shows up, Grace records a cover version of her father’s old Top 10 hit, runs away to Los Angeles and begins to taste the kind of success she’s always dreamed of. But with each rung of the ladder she climbs, Grace feels pressure to compromise her Christian values and learns not everyone who says they’re on her side really is. Will everything she experiences lead her to reject her faith . . . or rediscover it?
The idea for this story came from real life. “My daughter ran away six or seven years ago. She doesn’t want to talk to us,” producer Russ Rice says. “She is living apart from her faith, and my prayer is that somehow, somewhere, she might see this movie, receive a jolt and come back to Christ.”
The responsibility for giving Grace Unplugged that kind of jolt fell to Russ’s longtime friend, Brad J. Silverman, who wrote and directed the movie. Brad watched Russ and his family grapple with the crisis of their daughter’s running away. “The stories of Dad and Grace go hand-in-hand,” he notes. “The theme for Dad is, sometimes the best we can do for our kids is to let go and let God take care of them.”
As for the kids, Russ says he hopes the movie leads them to “examine themselves and their faith. . . . Do they own their faith? Do they rent their faith? Or do they borrow it from their parents? Those are the questions Grace has to answer, and I hope the audience answers them, too.”
“I’m hoping we prompt a lot of dialogue between families, that this movie is a conversation starter,” Brad says. “At the end of the day, I don’t miss the fact that this is entertainment – and I think we’ve made a very entertaining movie. But when the movie is over, and the audience reflects on what they’ve seen, I want Christians to say, ‘Wow. I love God.’”
FREE Song Download!
Download one of the songs from the movie — “Welcome to Daylight” by Luminate — free! “The songs tell a really cool story through music,” star AJ Michalka (Grace) explains. “It’s not a musical, in the sense that everyone’s busting into song in the cafeteria, but music is at the heart of the movie, at the heart of Grace’s relationship with her Dad, at the heart of who Grace is and who she wants to be.”