Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grandma - Review

    As the world enters the fall movie season, more and more Oscar worthy performances will work their way to the top.  Grandma is no exception as Lily Tomlin is a revelation in a film that belongs completely to her. If her performance is any indication of what’s to come from the upcoming, yet unofficial, awards season, audiences everywhere are in for a treat.
   Elle (Lily Tomlin) is an aging poet who opens the film by breaking up with her much younger girlfriend Olivia (Judy Greer) in a very cruel fashion. After breaking down in the shower, Elle answers the door to her eighteen-year-old granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) who’s in a bit of a bind. Sage is pregnant, scheduled for an abortion later that day, and she doesn’t have the money to pay for it. Sage goes to her slightly well known author Grandmother in hopes that she will have the six hundred dollars she needs. Unfortunately Elle has just paid off all of her debts and currently possesses a measly forty-three dollars. The two then embark out to find the needed money from various sources and interesting people along the way.
    The film is a comedy first and foremost, but it’s certainly not without its gut wrenching moments.  From Elle’s troubled past to the true fear that Sage experiences about her pregnancy, Grandma will hit you just as hard with the drama as it does with the comedy.
   The careful balance between the two would not be possible without the brilliant performance from Lily Tomlin. Elle is misanthropist and loves every minute of it, but Tomlin is able to give the character so much more depth and a complicated demeanor through the simplest of touches, smiles, or looks.  It’s almost as if the writer (and director), Paul Weitz, wrote this wonderful role specifically for Lily Tomlin.
   While clearly the front and center standout, Tomlin is not the only star that brings it. Sam Elliot, with his smooth voice and all, delivers perhaps his best performance in quite a while, as one of Elle’s former lovers, Karl. The Grandmother-Granddaughter duo stop at Karl’s house on their monetary quest and the scene that ensues is so powerful and so deep, I personally wouldn’t be shocked if Elliot finds himself in award conversations as well.
   Others shine as well in what might be one of the better-acted films of 2015. Julia Garner is a delight as Sage and brings out the realistic behavior of a teenager caught in her situation.  Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Sage’s mother and Elle’s daughter Judy, puts another charge into an already stellar film.

   Overall Grandma is another film that thrives on its performances. But unlike others, the film also maintains a fantastic script, with very few jokes that don’t’ hit. Tomlin is perhaps the first solid play for an Oscar nomination in this young fall movie season and could even win it when the time comes. Grandma is a heart felt but hilarious picture about the complexities of the relationships between this small family, and it does it so well that it may just be one of the best films of the year. (9.0/10)

So what did you think of Grandma? Have you seen it or are you interested in seeing it? Is anyone's Gradmother acutally similar to Lily Tomlin's Elle? Comment below and let me know. And as always come back to I Am Sam for weekly reviews.