Cinema Review: Grandma

Posted December 28, 2015 in Cinema Reviews

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Director: Paul Weitz

Talent: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Sam Elliott
Release Date: 11th December 2015


Sage (Garner), facing an unplanned pregnancy and the abdication of her slacker, teenage boyfriend, enlists the help of her tough and rude grandmother Elle (Tomlin) to put together the requisite $600 in one afternoon, in order to make her appointment at the abortion clinic. Sage and Elle both avoid mentioning it to high-powered businesswoman Judy (Harden), to whom they are daughter and mother, respectively, on account of her wrath and general fastidiousness. So Elle brings her granddaughter on a whistle-stop tour of people from her past, both recent (an ex-girlfriend) and distant (an ex-husband), who might be able to help them out. Various politically liberal signifiers pop up within the relentlessly mild film-scape – marijuana! A black friend! A *trans* friend! (N.B. The same person!) – with the aim of assuring us that we’re not watching just another preachy made-for-TV film about listening to your parents and/or elders, but the smug, boomer condescension is just too powerful in this one. Tomlin is amusing and surprisingly affecting in the titular role, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Words: Oisín Murphy-Hall

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