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Movie Monday: Grandma

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Book By Book

I spent some time searching for a good movie for us to watch with our fancy take-out for Valentine’s Day last night. The thing is that my husband’s not a fan of romances or rom-coms. I thought we could use some laughs (it was a particularly difficult week with his 95-year-old dad), and I finally settled on Grandma, a movie from 2015 with a great cast.

Julia Garner, recently of Ozark fame as Ruth, plays Sage, an older teen girl who is pregnant and wants to get an abortion so she can still go to college. She’s smart and kind and sweet, but she doesn’t have the $600 it will cost and her loser ex-boyfriend won’t help. She goes to her grandmother, Elle, played by Lily Tomlin, to ask for her help, but Elle doesn’t have any money right now, either. The two of them set off on a day-long quest to raise the funds in an antique, barely-working car that belonged to Elle’s partner, Violet, who died a few years ago after 30 years together. Elle is clearly still grieving, as the movie opens with her breaking up with a new (young) girlfriend, played by Judy Greer. Grandma and Sage go from one of Elle’s friends to the next (and to see the loser ex-boyfriend), to see who could lend them some money, and along the way, the viewer gets to know more about Elle’s past, Elle’s and Violet’s wonderful love, and Elle’s loving relationship with her granddaughter. Elle is gruff and prickly to most people, but she clearly cares very much for Sage, though she is honest with her, too. Sage doesn’t feel like she can confide in her mother, played perfectly by Marcia Gay Harden, who is estranged from her mother.

There are a dozen or so supporting cast members here who are all great, but the spotlight is on Tomlin and Garner, both outstanding and award-winning actresses. And it’s Lily Tomlin, so there is plenty of humor and laugh-out-loud moments throughout the movie. But, of course, the subject matter is quite serious and never taken lightly (Elle and Sage talk about the options and consequences). There is such warmth to the relationship between this younger and older woman. It’s clear that even with Elle’s grumpy and sarcastic demeanor, she has a special place in her heart for her granddaughter. We both enjoyed this warm-hearted, funny, heart-breaking movie starring two outstanding actresses.

Grandma was released in 2015 and is available on a wide variety of platforms to rent. It is available on Starz and on Hulu Premium (I didn’t know there was such a thing nor that our Hulu isn’t premium!). We rented it for $3.99 on Amazon, which I decided was pretty cheap compared to other Valentine’s Days when we spent $30 at a movie theater!


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