Grandma brushes off the abortion stigma. It doesn’t treat it like a life-altering moment, but instead as a standard medical procedure. I liked the no-nonsense attitude presented in this film. It’s exactly what I was in the mood to see.
This is a great little indie that’s light in tone and short in length, featuring Lily Tomlin as Elle Reid, the title grandmother. She’s abrasive and grouchy, but lovable – and her problems begin when her granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner), visits her in search of money for an abortion. Broke herself, Elle takes Sage on a road trip, running into acquaintances and old flames, in order to find the necessary cash.
This movie basically says, some people have abortions, get over it, it’s their choice. The film is never over concerned with the fact that Sage wants to have an abortion, or even the fact that Elle is a lesbian. So, Grandma is a welcome alternative to self-indulged dramas, as it presents homosexuality and unwanted pregnancies as everyday aspects of life.
Elle and Sage gradually develop an endearing relationship throughout the film, which is set over the course of one day. Tomlin’s performance is a showcase of depth, showing us the sensitivity behind the firm facade of Elle. The point of the film is to show that freedom is one of the greatest things anyone can have, and being independent and making our own choices, is a strength cut above anything else. With nearly an entire female cast, Grandma revels in female empowerment, and even Sage, who is much more helpless, ends up being just as resilient as her dear old grandma.
I didn’t have any expectations going into Grandma. Even at the beginning of the film, it felt pretty breezy, but by the end, I was pleasantly surprised by its quality. The film is commendable for what it achieves with such a low budget ($600,000 to be precise), as it doesn’t feel like it was made with little money. So, I really recommend this film.
It will divide viewers no doubt, because everyone has a different opinions on abortion. But the film takes a matter-of-fact approach to life and love, never beating around the bush, and never being overly sentimental. It’s a fulfilling film and the director’s vision is clear throughout.
Quoted: “You need to able to say ‘screw you’ sometimes.”
Directed and written by: Paul Weitz
Stars: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Judy Geer.
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Run Time: 75 min