Hot Take: At some point, if an actor or actress sticks around long enough, they get to make a film where they get their turn at the outspoken senior who says what we’re thinking but afraid to say. Grandma is Lily Tomlin’s opportunity. Despite a few shining moments, Grandma‘s best quality is it’s brevity.
A lesbian grandmother is asked by her fatherless (she was conceived via an anonymous sperm donor) teenage granddaughter for money to get an abortion so her mom won’t find out. That says comedy right there, doesn’t it?
Actually, for all the problems Grandma has, the one thing the film does have is a handful of funny moments, mostly from Lily Tomlin’s Elle. It’s Juno meets St. Vincent if Vincent had a moral compass.
Unfortunately, the movie is guilty of pandering to the target audience. Grandma glances at some controversial topics and laughs off their gravity. For example, the comedic plot device is a race against time road trip to get an abortion. Yet it’s rarely given the weight such a decision deserves.
If you love Lily Tomlin, you’ll probably love Grandma. Otherwise, it might fall short. At least it’s just under 80 minutes without credits.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Lily Tomlin
As Elle, Tomlin shines. This casting formula works all the time, doesn’t it?
- Tomlin and Sam Elliott
As she tries to help her granddaughter raise the money for an abortion, Elle encounters many people throughout her past. One of those is Elliott and their scene adds some much needed gravity to a situation treated with an odd dismissiveness.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Is It OK to Gloss Over the Heavy Stuff For Comedy’s Sake?
It’s not every day a granddaughter reaches out to their grandmother to help get an abortion… If Grandma is to be believed.
- Julia Garner as Granddaughter Sage is Under-Utilized
It feels like Garner’s plot and plight is downplayed to insure nothing steals Grandma Tomlin’s shine.
- So, There’s Two Abortion Clinics and One Is a Coffee Shop?
The “race against the clock” aspect comes across as silly. It’s never presented as if it was “now or never” when it comes to getting the abortion that day but it’s never not presented that way, either.