Tomlin’s “Grandma” About Growing Up, Not Growing Old


Forget fools.

lily“Grandma” doesn’t suffer anyone gladly, not her power broker boomer daughter or the guy who serves her coffee.

A failed poet grieving her partner of three decades she reserves her sympathy for her own problems until her teenage granddaughter shows up on her doorstep pregnant and in need of money for an abortion.

Without the cash the pair embark in a beat up old Cadillac on a day long search for the money through the older woman’s past, arguing all the way.

This slim character study, by Chris Weitz, writer, producer or director of works ranging from “American Pie” to the Netflix series “Mozart in the Jungle,”  has the courage of a conviction – that abortion is legal – that not everyone shares if this week’s Republican debate is any indication.

“Grandma” gets a brash fools-rush-in momentum from Lily Tomlin herself as the title character, a confrontational  expletive-spewing, quick to judge and disappointed lesbian in a faded jean jacket

“I assume there was a penis involved,” Tomlin says about the loser boyfriend of the transparently pale pregnant girl played by Julia Garner. She knows a thing or two about penises because she has a man in her distant past, played with humor and regret by Sam Elliott, who ties the room together in terms of Tomlin’s back story.

The 76-year old former “Laugh-In” star is having a late in life renaissance; she also co-stars with Jane Fonda in the series “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix (whose one hour episodes are almost as long as this 76-minute movie.) And like it “Grandma” shows that being old doesn’t mean you can’t still grow up.

*** Three stars 

With Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Lavern Cox, Elizabeth Pena. Produced by Terry Douglas, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis, Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz. Written and nd directed by Chris Weitz. Rated R; for language and drug use. Approximate running time: 76 minutes.

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