Film Review: Grandma


Writer-director Paul Weitz’s Grandma is an entertaining inter-generational comedy. Weitz’s script makes the film an enjoyable affair.

Teenager Sage arrives at her grandmother Elle’s house in desperate need of $600. Having just gone through a break-up, Elle is unprepared for the request. The pair attempt to raise the money by visiting old friends…

Grandma works very well as a comedy with something to say. The film boasts a great script and good performances from its leads. Characters in the film are thoughtfully depicted; there is a sense of realism to them. This also applies to those with only one scene in Grandma.

Title character Elle is a big part of the reason why Grandma is such an entertaining film. She is frequently humorous, but also has important wisdom to impart. Sage is not the one-dimensional teenager she could have been. Sage works as an independent character, and in the burgeoning relationship with her grandmother.

Grandma functions as a road movie, despite the short distance travelled. Segmenting the film into chapters, with titles, works well. This is particularly rues, given the frequent references to writing and books. Feminism is discussed in an overt fashion in the film. After all, the story is about a woman’s choice, but there are layers to this in the central relationship and the protagonists’ relationships with other characters.

Paul Weitz’s direction is good. He manages to depict meaningful scenes and allow the audience to get to know the characters without the loss of pace. It is the mark of a good director that he is able to tell the story well in an 80-minute run time. The performance from Lily Tomlin is great in Grandma. Julie Garner is also shines as Sage, and Marcia Gay Harden provides good support. There are also some decent performances in some of the smaller roles, including Judy Greer as Olivia.

Grandma is a brisk and enjoyable movie which puts women and their choices at the centre.