The fabulous Lily Tomlin finally gets the lead role she deserves in this smart, engaging comedy-drama. Like her title character, the film itself refuses to play nice, tackling big issues like abortion and the strain between mothers and daughters without ever simplifying the topics or the people involved. The plot may feel a bit contrived, and the entire movie rather lightweight, but it's thoroughly entertaining. And the subtle approach to the big themes gives it a strong kick.
Tomlin plays Elle, a mature woman who has just broken up with her girlfriend Olivia (Judy Greer) for no real reason. Then her young granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) turns up asking for money to terminate her pregnancy. Elle doesn't have the cash, but offers to help her find it, so they head off into Los Angeles in her rattling 1955 Dodge, visiting the unborn baby's stoner father (Nat Wolff) and some of Elle's colourful old friends (Elizabeth Pena, Laverne Cox and Sam Elliott). But both Elle and Sage are terrified that they might ultimately need to get in contact with Sage's workaholic mother Judy (Marcia Gay Harden), the daughter Elle never knew how to talk to.
The layers of mother-daughter interaction in this film are fascinating, and played with riotously jagged chemistry by the gifted cast. Tomlin punches every witty one-liner perfectly, capturing Elle's life-loving spirit and also her weary exhaustion at the way the world keeps changing around her. Tomlin finds terrific angles in each of Elle's relationships, drawing out Garner's wide-eyed yearning, Greer's steeliness and Harden's professional bluster. Each of the side roles feels like a fully formed person with a life of his or her own, which gives context to the humour and makes the entire film feel more weighty and meaningful.
Continue reading: Grandma Review
Elle Reid may be tough, but she's struggling coping with a recent break-up with her girlfriend. If that wasn't enough to contend with, her 18-year-old granddaughter Sage has just shown up at her house, and she needs over $600 immediately. She's pregnant and Elle's financial situation isn't at its best, but she's determined to do everything she can to help her granddaughter. She takes her on a roadtrip to recover cash from Sage's ex-boyfriend - and while her method of extracting money could be more polite, Sage is glad of her company when she manages to obtain it. Elle gives Sage a lesson in tough-talking as she continues to tour the country selling her possessions and begging cash of some old friends. When the pair arrive to see Sage's mom, it's another story; she's a high-flying business woman and the complete opposite of her mother and daughter - and it's clear to see why Sage chose Elle to help her out.
Continue: Grandma Trailer
The American actress co-starred in many films throughout the '80s and '90s, and was recently a guest star in 'Modern Family'.
Actress Elizabeth Pena, who starred in films such as Jacob’s Ladder and La Bamba, has died at the age of 55. According to her nephew Mario-Francisco Robles, who writes for Latino Review, she passed away at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Elizabeth Pena, a recent guest star in 'Modern Family', has died suddenly in Los Angeles aged 55
Pena was born in New Jersey to Cuban immigrant parents in 1959. In her career spanning four decades, Pena began performing in New York theatre as a teenager before securing a breakthrough onto the big screen with 1979’s cult favourite El Super, a moving comedy drama about Cuban immigrants adjusting to life in America.
Continue reading: Actress Elizabeth Pena Dies At Age 55
Gil Bellows headlines as David Dailey, a local Louisville talk radio jock who, we soon find out, is involved in a loveless marriage. Turns out his wife is carrying on a lesbian affair, which is messing with David's rep in town. Meanwhile, young Melody (the always radiant and underexposed Jennifer Westfeldt) isn't quite in love with her boyfriend, but he keeps pushing for fancy trips and even marriage. Soon, David starts getting cryptic cut-out-of-magazine notes and Melody spies a towncar with tinted windows always keeping watch over her. Could these two events be related? Well, never mind that David and Melody meet when he runs her over with his car, the answer is a qualified maybe.
Continue reading: Keep Your Distance Review
As a woman, it is always difficult to watch a movie involving rape. When filmed realistically, as Things is, it's impossible to distance yourself from the onscreen pain. And when a film is not constructed with realism the result is anger from shoddy storytelling, or with a filmmaker failing miserably to grasp the emotional honesty in a situation they can't understand.
Continue reading: Things Behind The Sun Review