‘Grace and Grit’ Summary & Ending, Explained


Grace and Grit plays out like a Terrence Malik film. Too many scenic shots lavished with sentimental voiceovers to pierce the heart. But, other than its melodious playout, the story prominently revolves around a couple whose life gets turned upside down with the arrival of a cancerous lump. Treya Killam Wilber (Mena Suvari) is diagnosed with breast cancer, and the narrative follows her courageous journey, battling the incurable disease.

Plot Summary

In August 1983, Treya Killam met Ken Wilber at CAL Institute for psychological studies. Ken was already a researcher at the institute when Treya enrolled. However, their bond grows thicker while interacting over dinner at their familiar friend, Roger’s home. Only after four months, the couple decides to get married and start a new life.

However, ten days after their marriage, Treya is diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. Doctors find a lump in her right breast. They celebrate their honeymoon at the hospital, being together through thick and thin. The first tumour was dealt with courage and patience. However, Treya gets another recurrence that completely seizes her soul and her will to live. The film explores the couple’s journey tracing emotional and mental trauma.

Major Spoilers Ahead

‘Grace and Grit’ Ending Explained

Cancer in Treya’s body got metastasized, which meant it spread to her brain and her lungs. So when the tumour in her head shifted the position of her brain, the Doctor suggested that chemotherapy is inevitable.

Terra pleaded to the Doctor that “she isn’t afraid of dying, but she is scared of the pain.” And these tumours were causing an incredible amount of pain. Finally, the Doctor convinced her that they could handle that. Now, the line (speculatively) could suggest that the Doctor gave her a sedative so that she can leave the world without pain.

In the last scene, Treya penned down in her journal, “It takes grace, yes and grit.” The line served as the foundation of Ken’s book, which he wrote for her wife. The phrase could mean bearing the hardships with courage and firmness while maintaining elegance or politeness. A quick symbolization of Treya’s journey while battling cancer.

Treya left the world with Ken on her side in her last moment. The film further depicts the real-life footage of Ken and Treya and Ken’s life after his wife’s departure.

Is ‘Grace and Grit’ based on a True Story?

The film is adapted from a non-fictional novel of the same name written by Ken Wilber. Thus, the story is based on their real-life experience and portrays a real-life couple showcasing their distressing experience with cancer.

After his wife’s death, Ken slowly moved back into the real world without Treya. But he kept her memories alive—his first publication, “Grace and Grit,” was dedicated to his late wife. The book attained global acclamation too. After its success, philosopher-author Ken Wilber wrote ten more books, each one devoted to Treya.

Grace and Grit is a 2021 Biography film directed by Sebastian Siegel.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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