Delicate is the last word one might use to describe the titular grandmother in the movie “Grandma,” but the movie itself is a delicacy.
Where society’s taste in recent years have certainly shifted toward the heavy hot-sauce and creams of the film world, the action thrillers and raucous comedies, occasionally it is pleasant to sit down with something light with hints of sweet and sour flavors. “Grandma” is an example of a film that you could only find in Tulsa at the Circle Cinema.
Sitting at the center of “Grandma” is Elle Reid, played by Lily Tomlin. Tomlin does a fantastic job of creating this rough, abrasive, sometimes vulgar, often scary, usually hysterical crotchety old woman.
While the line never appears in the film, it is so easy to see Elle shouting “Get off my lawn, you stupid kids!” Underneath this tough, salty shell however, is an incredibly loving and caring woman.
The movie is worth going to just to see Tomlin as Elle alone, but there is a lot more to this film. If you think that Hollywood needs to have more female centric, non “chick-flick”, movies, go see “Grandma” and vote with your feet.
The film handles itself and its cast with poise and delicacy, juggling potentially hot button topics as abortion, lesbian relationships, aging, and non-traditional households in such a way that they are really not issues at all.
“Grandma” could have focused and questioned any one of those elements, but it doesn’t. It accepts them as normal, as they should be.
And in this respect I hope “Grandma” is a herald of things to come. It doesn’t throw in a lesbian relationship as some kind of pandering ploy to look progressive. It takes it as the central issue for the film.
The movie is Elle dealing with the loss of her wife and redeveloping the relationship with her daughter and granddaughter that she lost when her wife died.
The film doesn’t focus on the lesbian nature of the relationship, instead treating Elle as anyone would expect her to be treated if it was a husband that had passed on.
I wish more movies could take these kinds of issues and treat them as normal things. And I think as more media does this, especially if it can handle it as well as “Grandma” does, the more quickly these will become non-issues.
On to lighter subjects. The humor is spot on throughout the movie. The film takes great advantage of Elle who is about a decade beyond giving two hoots about anything or anyone.
Pairing her up with her granddaughter Sage, played by Julia Garner, who still cares a great deal about the opinions of those around her, makes for great onscreen chemistry. Having the embarrassed Sage on screen means the audience don’t have to feel embarrassed for Elle and can just enjoy the unrestrained wit of a crotchety old grandmother.
Overall, “Grandma” is incredibly well handled and a delicately sweet film that’s worth treating yourself to.