One depressingly common thread among faith-based films is the way conflict is watered down and life’s rough edges are often scrubbed off. It’s OK to put out a movie with a message. But rendering even potentially dramatic stories so inoffensive that they bear no relation to reality makes for middling drama.

“The Grace Card” has drugs, cops and race as ingredients. But the eggshells the screenwriter and director walk on distance the story from the reality it aims to imitate. And that robs this tale of loss, grief and redemption of its punch.

“Grace Card” is about a white Memphis cop (Michael Joiner) still seething some 17 years after his son was killed by a car driven by a black drug dealer.  That lingering rage has shattered “Mac” McDonald’s family. His wife (Joy Parmer Moore) is depressed and desperately looking for help. And their surviving son (Robert Erikson), now 17, is in open revolt and making awful decisions.

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