Festival Review: Grandma (2015)


A female road-trip with a devastating performance from Lily Tomlin, Paul Weitz’s Grandma delves into feminism past, present and future.

Family Plot

by Alexa Dalby


CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Grandma is a lot of fun – with an emotional punch. Seventy-plus Elle, a charismatic, feminist academic and poet (Lily Tomlin in a virtuoso performance) is the polar opposite of a little old lady. She doesn’t seem to give a damn about anything or anyone. Actually, she does. Whilst single-mindedly rampaging rough-shod over conventional politenesses, she secretly cares a lot for her granddaughter, daughter, female student lover, and she’s still grieving the death of her lesbian lover of many years, but she hides her emotions beneath an aggressive, expletive-laden carapace. In an action-filled day, Elle sets off with pregnant, broke granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) on a frantic road trip to borrow the $600 Sage needs for her abortion. Tapping her circle of friends and ex-lovers for money, Elle is forced into painful contact with unresolved issues from her past and the women’s lib counterculture of the Sixties – which she deals with in her own inimitable way. Not to mention her unconventional and very satisfying method of dealing with the reluctant father.

Grandma is now showing at the London Film Festival

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