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GRANDMA (review)


Written and Directed by Paul Weitz / Starring Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner and Sam Elliott

Elle: I don’t have an anger problem. I have an asshole problem. Especially when they’re an asshole to my granddaughter.

GRANDMA is a real cause for celebration. Not only is it the best and most fully realized movie from writer/director Paul Weitz since ABOUT A BOY, it is, most importantly, the triumphant return of Lily Tomlin in a starring role in a feature film. Despite shining in a myriad of supporting roles, both on the big and small screen, Tomlin hasn’t been top-billed since BIG BUSINESS in 1988. And, as Elle Reid, a once relatively successful poet, she’s back with a vengeance in a role and performance worthy of awards recognition.

We first meet Elle at her most vitriolic as she is ending her relationship with a younger woman (Judy Greer, sensational as always). As one woman leaves Elle’s home in tears, another enters in fear. It’s Sage (Julia Garner), Elle’s granddaughter. Sage is 18. And pregnant. And needs $630.00 for an abortion she has scheduled in 5 hours at a clinic. Unfortunately, Elle is penniless, having cut up all her credit cards to make a lovely wind chime in a misanthropic pique. All the same, they jump into an old Dodge that once belonged to Elle’s lover of 31 years and head off in the direction of a women’s free clinic she remembers from the old days. Once they realize it is now a trendy coffeehouse, it’s an old fashioned road trip around L.A. to get the money in time for the appointment.


In a landscape dotted with memorable supporting performances (especially the comic gold Marcia Gay Harden brings and a brilliant turn from the still sexy as hell Sam Elliott), kudos must be given to Garner. The relative newcomer is as bright and sunny as the blonde Shirley Temple curls on her head. Ultimate laurels must be laid at the feet of Tomlin though for her superlative job here, a standout from an already impressive career.

4 sheep

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give Grandma?


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