GRANDMA (director/writer: Paul Weitz; cinematographer: Tobias Datum; editor: Jonathan Corn; music: Joel P. West; cast: Lily Tomlin (Elle), Julia Garner (Sage), Marcia Gay Harden (Judy), Judy Greer (Olivia), Laverne Cox (Deathy), Sam Elliott (Karl), Nat Wolff (Cam), John Cho (Chau); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Paul Weitz/Andrew Miano/ Terry Dougas/Paris Latsis; Sony Pictures Classics; 2015)
“Breezy comedy that dials in on abortions, aging and various other sensitive feminist issues.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Paul Weitz (“Admission”/”Being Flynn”/”Little Fockers”) is writer-director of this breezy comedy that dials in on abortions, aging and various other sensitive feminist issues. The low-budget indie, set in LA, is filled with poignant moments about women and their specific issues. It surprises us with edgy social-political truths when we least expect it.
The 75-year-old Lily Tomlin’s star-powered performance as the acerbic septuagenarian granny radical feminist poet and retired college professor, is a refreshing tonic for viewers. After the death of her long-time girlfriend, Tomlin neglects her writing out of self-pity. As the pic opens, Tomlin breaks up with her much younger girlfriend Judy Greer. At this time, Tomlin’s penniless 18-year-old granddaughter, Julia Garner, pays her a surprise visit to ask for $600 to pay for an abortion at a clinic later that afternoon. Julia turns to granny because her workaholic mom, Marcia Gay Harden, terminated her credit card and granny is the only remaining person she can ask to help.
The broke granny and her needy grand-daughter travel in granny’s vintage Dodge across LA searching for acquaintances to give her the money, as we learn that the free women’s health care clinic closed to become an upscale cafe.
The film’s money scene has Tomlin and Julie smoking a joint and having a stoner conversation that becomes deeply emotional for the ladies. It’s one of the better insightful scenes I’ve seen in recent female teen coming-of-age films.
Nat Wolff delightfully plays the deadbeat character who knocked-up Julia.
Sam Elliott superbly plays Tomlin’s old flame.
Laverne Coxa lays the ink on with relish playing a transgender tattoo artist.
John Cho has a wonderful turn as an uptight barista.
REVIEWED ON 9/19/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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