Movie Review, “Grandma.”

Last night I saw the movie, Grandma, with Lily Tomlin. There was much to relate to. She was living alone, had no money, her partner had recently died, and she was estranged from everyone she had ever known. While still settled in a comfortable apartment, her life seemed adrift, disconnected and harrowing. When her granddaughter arrives to ask for money, she is sitting in a commencement gown in her living room looking through old photos.

The quest to find money for her granddaughter takes her into an odyssey of her past. She tries to connect with old friends and an ex-husband, but all of them spurn her. Socially, she had drifted off into the margins, and as a misanthropic pariah, took out her frustration on whoever crossed her path. While visiting an ex-husband she is finally forced into apologizing for what happened between them 40 years ago.

A woman who recently moved into the house drifted off yesterday. Someone said she is in another state. I know she will come back because her stuff is here, but I don’t know how long she will stay. A few days ago she told me that she has moved 32 times in the past year. She is 65.

I am starting to wonder if older women, especially those out on the road, can ever find home again. While reading about the migrant crisis in Europe, I sense that I too, am part of a migratory group. Both my mother and grandmother had to give up their homes and live in cramped apartments when they got old. They tried to make “homes” out of their apartments by clinging to a few momentos, but it wasn’t the same.

At the end of the movie, “grandma” loses her car and gives her granddaughter back to her mother. She is shown walking down a dark alley alone shaking her head and shrugging her shoulders. In one of the reviews I read the movie was called a “dramedy.” I guess it’s hard for a young person to know if an older woman’s life is a comedy or a drama. I don’t remember laughing while I watched it.


8 thoughts on “Movie Review, “Grandma.”

  1. Rachel
    Thank you for the review. Sounds like an intriguing,(but not funny!) movie. I’m looking forward to seeing it. I recently watched I’ll See You in My Dreams with Blythe Danner. I watched the whole thing and still couldn’t figure out why Blythe seemed so unhappy with her life. What did you think?


    1. I saw that movie too, and given that I am around her age, I didn’t think she was unhappy (until the end of course, when her friend died). For me, and perhaps for other older women living alone, the later years of life are more reflective than active. I thought she seemed wise and peaceful. Thanks for your comment.


  2. This is so sad to me, yet the shrug of the shoulders seems like flipping the bird and moving forward? Perhaps she was never cut out to be grandma, wife, friend, lover and figured that out at the end. She lost her car and a relationship she never really had with the grand daughter? Perhaps it was a triumphant ending.


  3. I’m a Lily Tomlin fan from way back, all the way back to ‘Laugh-In’. I look forward to seeing the film. I LOVE your last line in this essay– “I don’t remember laughing while I watched it.”

    Your writings and reflections are maturing with you – I’m standing by. You are a wonderful sounding board within my mind, touching on lifestyles I can never touch on my own – only through the writings of the female voice. I will say that the struggles of aging men are no less difficult, save one current caveat; that we’re men. ~TH~


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