Directed by Paul Weitz
Written by Paul Weitz
Starring: Lilly Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, and Sam Elliott
A woman and her granddaughter (Tomlin and Garner respectively) embark on a journey to acquire six hundred dollars to pay for the granddaughter’s abortion, from various acquaintances of the grandmothers.
Grandma’s greatest strength is the performance of Lilly Tomlin as the film’s central character. Tomlin’s performance perfectly captures both the razor sharp wit and the heart contained in the movie. Tomlin’s performance is Oscar-caliber. The film has been slowly expanding since its release in late August. I do not think that Tomlin will get lost in the sea of the pictures that the various studios push for Oscar later on in the year. When a film receives a release outside of the traditional Oscar season, it gets lost in the shuffle, so to speak. Tomlin’s brilliant performance serving as an accent to the wit and the heart of the film. I believe will be used to benefit her come Oscar time, without Tomlin’s performance Grandma is not the film that it turned out to be.
As mentioned above the movie is very witty, Paul Weitz does not pull any punches. When it comes to the humor in the film, Weitz goes for it, and all of it based on the wit and intelligence of the dialog. Tomlin’s chops as a comedienne and her sense of comic timing served to highlight the high level at which the humor in Weitz’s functions. Aside from the witty humor, the movie also contains a lot of heart. The fascinating thing about the heart in the film is that three primary relationships, grandmother, mother, and granddaughter, are introduced into the movie because those characters have nowhere else to turn too. The granddaughter turns to the grandmother because that is her last resort, and the grandmother turns to her daughter (the mother) because there is there is one else she can turn too to help her granddaughter. The movie implies that the relationship between these characters is strained and not on the best of terms. It is an interesting dynamic that these people are the ones that are turned to when there are no other options.
Grandma unlike a shockingly high number of films, passes the Bechdel Test, and does so with high marks. For those unfamiliar with the term, to pass the Bechdel Test a film must have two female characters, they must talk to each other, and the conversation must be about something other than a man. The film only contains a handful of male characters; only two of these male characters have a significant part to play in the plot of the movie.
Grandma is a witty, heartfelt comedy/drama that has a powerhouse performance from its lead. Grandma receives a 4/5.