GRANDMOTHERS are caring and nurturing older women. Elle is one such grandmother but not in the way you might expect.

Elle (Lily Tomlin) is a poet who has not only just broken up with her girlfriend, but is also still having trouble getting over the love of her life who recently passed away.

[showads ad=MREC]Suddenly, into her life comes her granddaughter Sage, who needs $600 before the end of the day. A financially deficient Elle, with her granddaughter in tow, must call in some favours to get the money. As we discover over the course of the film, with her granddaughter entering her life Elle is forced to deal with past relationships so she can move forward with future ones.

The film also does not hold back on topics that may be viewed as controversial, such as abortion.

Writer/director Paul Weiz’s biggest claim to fame may be directing American Pie but don’t let this fool you. He has also directed some wonderful character-based films like About A Boy and In Good Company. Grandma is no different. All of Weiz’s characters are well-developed and you enjoy spending time with them. In fact, my only criticism is that the film is too short and that you want to be with these people more.

I am a huge fan of Lily Tomlin. I think she is brilliant in everything she does. And that is certainly the case here. She shows great emotional range as she deals with all the various conflicts that come her way in this story. I get the sense that Tomlin is not acting per se here, but perhaps that is because her performance is so good and her character is so real that you can’t see her acting.

Tomlin is supported by a great cast, too, including Julie Garner who is delightful as Sage. While on the outside she displays a great deal of sweetness and lightness, you can tell her maturity is beyond her years due to the challenges she has to face. Other cast members include Marcia Gay Harden and Sam Elliot, who both play their characters brilliantly.

On the surface, Grandma seems like a fairly typical story but underneath there lies some plot surprises and character developments which make it a delight to watch.


Grandma is screening on Thursday, September 24. Queer Screen Film Fest is on September 22-27 at Sydney’s George Street Event Cinemas. For details and tickets, click here

The Star Observer is a proud media partner of Queer Screen Film Fest

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