Grandma (2015)

Grandma was suggested to me by Ken from LazySundayMovies, and since I'm such an amazing human being, I checked it out. Knowing absolutely nothing other than it being a dark comedy by American Pie director Paul Weitz. 

The film follows Elle (Lily Tomlin), an ageing lesbian poet who has just broken up with her younger girlfriend (Judy Greer). When she was younger, before she knew she was a lesbian, she got married and had a daughter, Judy (Marcia Gay Harden), which in turn had a daughter, Elle's granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner), who unexpectedly shows up one day needing six hundred dollars for an abortion. As Elle is broke, the two spend the day together searching around town trying to get the money as Elle meet people from her past.

Grandma's is a very simple and rather predictable story, and it isn't always the most engaging --and it does get boring, at times--, but overall the journey of Elle and her granddaughter is quite interesting.

There's no need, however, to linger too long on the story as this film is more of a character study. Which is another problem with the film as I found the characters to be too thin for Grandma to be effective. Sure, Elle is strong, scary and respectable, but overall, she is your typical feminist character, and doesn't have a lot of development. The way her backstory is revealed to us was another problem for me. While we get to know about her past, we get to know her and can predict what's coming next, the way it is told to us does not work. It feels as if it was explained to a child, and it lacks any kind of emotion. The short running time would have never allowed a great character study anyway.

Sony Pictures Classics

In spite of that, Lily Tomlin gives a fantastic performance as Elle. She pulls off both drama and humour very well and manages to elevate the character. Also, the way she delivers offensive lines out of the blue is incredibly hilarious. Julia Garner's performance as Sage is equally compelling but, just as Tomlin, she does really have much to work with.

Overall though Grandma is a decent film with good performances. It does handle the very delicate subject of abortion in a light way without much maturity, but Weitz makes the dark humour work.


  1. I liked this well enough. It's probably not something I'd watch again, but like you I enjoyed the performances.