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On Demand: ’By the Grace of God’ shows survivors’ perspective of French church sex abuse scandal

Matt Shiverdecker, Special to the American-Statesman
Melvil Poupaud, right, stars in "By the Grace of God." [Contributed by Music Box Films]

Here are some interesting new releases available now from cable and digital providers as well as a title currently available for streaming.

Video on Demand

"By the Grace Of God": The latest film from Francois Ozon is one of the most straightforward of his career, essentially landing as the French answer to the Oscar-winning "Spotlight." He apparently considered making it as a documentary but ended up writing it as a feature. It tells the story of a man named Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) who is a devoted husband and father. After learning that a Catholic priest who molested him as a child was only ever moved around to other towns and is still working with kids, Alexandre begins to fight against the church. He joins forces with two other victims, also now adults, whose lives were forever changed by the abuse. While "Spotlight" looked at the journalists breaking a story, Ozon sharply focuses his story entirely on the survivors trying to come to terms with what happened to them even decades later. The actual priest depicted in the film filed a lawsuit in France trying to block distribution. (Digital VOD)

"Standing Up, Falling Down": Ben Schwartz, always hysterical as Jean-Ralphio on NBC's "Parks and Recreation," stars as Scott, a struggling stand-up comic who has failed to launch his career out in Los Angeles. He somewhat begrudgingly heads back to Long Island to move back in with his parents and sister where he begins an unlikely friendship with his dermatologist Marty (a wonderful Billy Crystal). Both men are broken and in very different places in their lives, but they bond and at least try to help each other. In many ways, this feels like an independent film from the ’90s that has been unsealed from a time capsule. It's a small slice-of-life story with solid performances; the kind of movie that struggles to find a theatrical audience these days but is well worth a rental at home. (Cable and digital VOD)

Also on streaming services

"Greener Grass": A hit at Sundance and South by Southwest last year, this candy-coated future cult classic is one of the most delightfully bizarre films I've ever seen. Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe co-wrote, co-directed and co-star in this twisted suburban tale as housewives navigating through life in a nebulous alternate reality. Everybody drives golf carts instead of cars, and all the adults wear braces. It's exaggerated and feels a bit like if David Lynch had created "The Goldbergs." I laughed through almost the entire film but know very few people I could solidly recommend it to. If your tastes run to Adult Swim-style insanity, give it a shot. You'll know pretty quickly if it's for you. (Hulu)