Sunday, September 13, 2015


GRANDMA isn't a perfect movie by a long, or a medium, shot. But I suspect it is probably the first movie ever focused on an aging lesbian as the main character. She's played by Lily Tomlin who doesn't give a perfect performance but has many moments of her usual brilliance. Some of the scenes between her and Judy Garner, who plays her granddaughter, are worth the price of the film. There's a lot of good work by others in the cast as well, especially Sam Elliot.

The whole movie feels at times like a dramatic essay on the history of "second wave" feminism and the progress that's been made. The subject matter and lead role makes GRANDMA a pretty original piece of movie making. It's worth watching just for that. Or for the fact that the movie opens with a quote by Eileen Myles (the poet, and a friend from long ago) and a book of hers features prominently in a couple of scenes.

Given all that, I was surprised to learn after watching GRANDMA that it was written and directed by a man, Paul Weitz. He also didn't do a perfect job at either. But ultimately it's Tomlin's movie, and her fans will be happy to see her work out on screen again and in almost every scene (or actually I think she's in every scene). She's always been a fascinating performer to watch, whether what she's doing always works or not. And it's no different here.

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