Sunday, September 27, 2015


Movie Name: Grandma
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Paul Weitz
Stars: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Sam Elliott, Laverne Cox, Elizabeth Pena, Nat Wolff, John Cho, Colleen Camp, Frank Collison
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Synopsis & Review:
Director Paul Weitz, better known for having started the "American Pie" franchise, and the more interesting "About a Boy" (both alongside his brother Chris Weitz), has returned with what has turned out his best feature (so far). "Grandma" premiered to great reviews at the Sundance film festival of 2015, and follows the story of Elle Reid, a middle aged woman, who is the throws of a breakup with her (much younger) girlfriend of four months, Olivia. Elle is a published and well known poet, who has worked in the Academic world for the last years, which have turned out to be quite painful, since the recent death of her partner of 38 years, Violet. On the day of this breakup, Elle has the visit of her granddaughter Sage, who comes asking for money. She wants to have an abortion, and since Elle has no money and they both want to avoid going to Sage's mother (and Elle's daughter), they set out to find alternative ways of getting that money.
Paul Weitz smartly creates a character study with this film, focusing his attention on the dynamics of three generations of women within the same family. The core of the film is Elle, the matriarch, still reeling from the loss of her companion of so many years. She's presented as a fully rounded character/person, with both a loving caring side, as well as one with acerbic wit and sarcasm that cuts through everything. She's a woman who has learnt to live with her choices, and who sees her daughter and granddaughter for who they are, loving them above all. The other women in the family are no quite as well developed as this immense character, but they are nonetheless an illustration of what Elle as a mother and as a woman has built within her family unit. The cast assembled is fantastic, with Lily Tomlin creating a character that distills both her comedy chops, as well as the more dramatic undertones, all of which make her Elle character more than a stereotype. Julia Garner, Judy Greer and Sam Elliott all add an extra dimension to this interesting and heartfelt film. An interesting and well layered film from an irregular director.