Did I want to see the new movie "Grandma" because I'm a grandparent myself? Did I want to see the new movie "Grandma" as sort of thank you to Lily Tomlin for her long career? Or did I want to see "Grandma" because it was less than 90 minutes long. Well definitely I'll say a little bit of each but any directors of films less than an hour and a half should get a bonus.
Let's talk about Lily "Miss Piss and Vinegar" Tomlin. For me, my strongest memories of her long career was her characters on "Rowan and Martin's
Laugh In the the very early 70's. She and others burst onto the scene from that hugely successful comedy show…she was a comedic beast! My next recollection of her was with Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda in the movie "9-5" which was hugely popular comedy. I'm sure she has done many other roles but they just don't come to me. I doubt if she was ever up for any post season awards and one could say her career was unremarkable. Yet, she no doubt had a long career in her chosen field (over 40 years) and not many folks can say that. Lets also be candid, Hollywood is not open to roles for women that are not "knock outs" or older unless you are an uber box office draw. It was a magical experience for me to see her have a lead role and kill it!! (Like Blythe Danner in "I'll See You In My Dreams).
The moment the movie began and her face appeared on the screen with her sarcastic way of speaking, I just started smiling. Simply I knew would really like her character and this movie. The previews were pretty clear that it's a story about her sort of estranged granddaughter who becomes pregnant and is need in need of money to get an abortion. She turns to her quirky grandmother that she's clearly been disconnected with yet trusts over her CEO, overbearing Mom (Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden).
So it is all about the journey to find the necessary $600 fee as Tomlin (Elle) reveals her life, friends, partners to her granddaughter (mostly for the 1st time, the Sage (played very well baby Julia Garner) has a 5pm abortion appt. and to her, her back is against the wall. Elle, stops her life to help family and slowly reveals stages of her life as she keeps tracking down "friends" over the years to try to get some $.
"Grandma" very clearly showcases the non-traditional roles and paths of both Grandparents and our youth today…yup, we are not in Mayberry anymore.
Made me reflect on how predictable, calm, generally drama-free my life was growing up along with the text book roles my grandparents played in
my life as periodic folks in my life. Things were so much cleaner and uncomplicated.
Follows Elle & Sage 1 day tale along with the introduction late in the film of ogre Mom and CEO Harden was both a comedy and a drama. As a
total package, this film worked VERY WELL and was thrilled to see it. This movie is laced with foul language combined with lots of complicated relationships of family, friends and lovers. So down to earth, so believable, so warm and real.
I love that all the lead characters in this movie are female. I love soft,background soundtrack simply supports the mood of the various themes without interfering in any way. The bad language in this film emanates from every single character and pounds home the angst in each characters lives. When used comedically worked, when used to reinforce anger/passion (generally the case), even more effective.
How lucky are we to have this BOW TIE theater in Red Bank. Seriously this movie "Grandma" and their other film "Learning To Drive" (which I reviewed last week) are both magnificent, simple films. Probably neither will gain much in the way of post season nominations nor awards, but boy are they both captivating and immensely enjoyable. Thank you Bow Tie!