There is no denying that all athletes will begin losing their skills and all singers will begin losing their voices with age. It’s nothing to be too upset about as its purely natural and moreover their legacies are bound to live on. This said, a film will come around every now and then that proves that similar simply cannot be said for an actor or actress.
Such is the case with “Grandma” pretty undeniable proof that an actress not only retains her acting prowess with age, but only continues to grow in her acting ability. With a relatively simple road-trip narrative that allows for a colorful cast of characters along the way, Lily Tomlin is able to prove her worth right alongside the younger actors that won’t be replacing her anytime soon.
“You need to be able to say ‘screw you’ sometimes.”
Quite the activist in her heyday, Elle Reid is now an older woman who is still recovering from the loss of her longtime partner to cancer less than two years ago. When her teenage granddaughter Sage stumbles to her door pregnant and needing money for an abortion however, the the film quickly turns from sad and withdrawn to a weird and unlikely charming road-trip to collect the much needed 600 dollars. It’s a film that cares quite a bit about not really caring, illustrating that the way to get things done is only by telling it like it is.
Through this trip the two encounter faces old and new that come together to create quite the variegated array of characters and personalities. This array consists of a trans-gendered tattoo artist played by Laverne Cox, a coffee shop owner played by Elizabeth Pena, and lastly Sage’s unruly boyfriend who refuses to admit that the baby is his (resulting in quite the whooping from her Grandma). The cast and each of their introductions into the film are all executed incredibly naturally, illustrating that there are several ways in which a director can still make this narrative format feel fresh.
Young actress Julia Garner certainly does a fine job in her role as the misguided Sage, but the spotlight undeniably lies on Lily Tomlin and everyone knows it. Her first leading role in 27 years, Tomlin’s return center stage is as entertaining as it is earned. There is also quite a bit to be said about the chemistry between these two actresses, resulting in an interestingly charming and hilarious final product despite the intense amount of grit underlying in the narrative.
“Grandma” is a simple movie that doesn’t quite reinvent the wheel. This said, it is an endlessly cute display of a very unlikely bond resulting from pretty dire circumstances. The precision in which characters are introduced and pulled off by their respective actors is enough to justify the wheel being left alone this time around.
Runtime: 1 hr 18 min