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Friday, September 25, 2015

Grandma - A Film Review

I enjoyed seeing Grandma yesterday, an indie movie written and directed by Paul Weitz and starring Lily Tomlin as Elle, who is helping her teen granddaughter Sage (Garner) raise $600 in a day to pay for her abortion.

Elle is a lesbian poet whose partner died after 38 years of togetherness, and she just broke up with her girlfriend (Greer) of four months. She is a miser who pushes people away, isn't on speaking terms with her daughter (Harden), and has a mean and bitter attitude towards people. Yet Tomlin's performance is brilliant, and her love and feminist actions for her innocent granddaughter make her sympathetic. They raise the money through visiting various contacts of Elle's, getting the money through favors or collecting debt, and Elle often has to confront the effect that her bad attitude has had on her loved ones, and own up to her life's mistakes and show compassion for others.

I liked that the film is very woman-centered, and has an ensemble cast of talented actresses: Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Lauren Tom, and Elizabeth Peña. John Cho is in a cameo, and Sam Elliott appears in a notable sequence as Elle's ex-husband, but the movie is largely dominated by women. The movie is interesting and well-written and well-acted, and was refreshing to watch.

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