6.7/10
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Grandma (2015)

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A teenager facing an unplanned pregnancy seeks help from her acerbic grandmother, a woman who is long estranged from her daughter.

Director:

Paul Weitz

Writer:

Paul Weitz
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lily Tomlin ... Elle
Judy Greer ... Olivia
Julia Garner ... Sage
Carlos Miranda ... Young Man
John Cho ... Chau
Nat Wolff ... Cam
Laverne Cox ... Deathy
Aaron Bilyeu Aaron Bilyeu ... Tattoo Artist
Elizabeth Peña ... Carla
Colleen Camp ... Bonobo Customer
Sam Elliott ... Karl
Mo Zelof ... Ian (as Mo Aboul-Zelof)
Marcia Gay Harden ... Judy
Meg Crosbie ... Wendy
Sarah Burns ... Jill
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Storyline

Lily Tomlin stars as Elle who has just gotten through breaking up with her girlfriend when Elle's granddaughter Sage unexpectedly shows up needing six hundred dollars before sundown. Temporarily broke, Grandma Elle and Sage spend the day trying to get their hands on the cash as their unannounced visits to old friends and flames end up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aprendendo Com a Vovó See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$115,540, 23 August 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,980,421, 28 February 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Outside of the abortion clinic, the woman tells Elle (Lily Tomlin) and Sage (Julia Garner) that the baby has fingernails. This same line is in Juno (2007), which starred Ellen Page, who played Marcia Gay Harden's daughter in Whip It (2009). See more »

Goofs

When Sage and her grandma are talking next to the tree, during one shot a black body mic wire is visible on the right side of Sage's blouse. In between takes it is covered up. See more »

Quotes

Elle Reid: You need to be able to say 'screw you' sometimes.
See more »


Soundtracks

Lights Out
Written by Joel P. West (as Joel P West)
Performed by The Tree Ring
Courtesy of Other Rivers
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User Reviews

 
3 generations of spitfire women
3 September 2015 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Perhaps your mental picture of a grandma is the familiar form of a Norman Rockwell painting … a sweet, bespectacled little lady baking pies or knitting booties or kicking back in a rocking chair as the grandkids romp around her. If so, Lily Tomlin will jolt you into reality with her performance in this latest from writer/director Paul Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie).

The film kicks off with Elle (Ms. Tomlin) breaking up with her much younger girlfriend (Judy Greer). As with many relationship break-ups, the tone shifts quickly with an increase in 'let's talk about it'. Elle tosses out "You're a footnote" as a zinger that quickly ends any hope of reconciliation. It's an uncomfortable opening scene that aptly sets the stage for what we are going to witness over the rest of the movie … Elle has lived quite a life, but has been unable to move on since the death of her long time companion – a recurring subject throughout.

The six segments of the film are titled: Endings, Ink, Apes, The Ogre, Kids, Dragonflies. Don't expect those descriptions to help you guess the direction of the film. Instead, it plays out like a road trip through Elle's past … albeit with a very contemporary feel. See, her granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) shows up at the house asking to borrow $600 for an abortion. Despite her career as a poet of some notoriety, Elle is tapped out at the moment. So the two of them set out in Elle's 1955 Dodge Royal (Ms. Tomlin's real life car), and proceed to visit people (and hit them up for cash) who have played a role in Elle's most interesting life.

During this journey – which all happens during a single day – the ladies cross paths with Sage's clueless boyfriend (a miscast Nat Woolf), a transgender tattoo artist (Laverne Cox) who owes Elle the money she lent for enhancement, a small business owner (the final appearance of the late Elizabeth Pena) who is a bit more tough-minded than Elle gives her credit for, a long ago ex-husband of Elle's (the best performance from Sam Elliott in years) who still carries heartbreak , and most bombastic of all, Elle's daughter and Sage's mom – a workaholic, no non-sense, Type A professional (played with vigor by Marcia Gay Harden).

Much will be made of the film treating Sage's decision so matter-of-factly, but it makes for nice contrast to Juno, where the decision to abort an unwanted pregnancy is abruptly reversed when she's told the baby has fingernails. This movie even offers a tip of the cap to that scene (bravo Sarah Burns), but is never preachy or heavy-handed in its dealing with Sage. It's a young girl in a real life situation, and she is depending on her dysfunctional family to provide financial and moral support.

One might describe this as an art-house movie with wider appeal. Lily Tomlin makes this a must-see, as do Julia Garner and Sam Elliott. Some will avoid it due to the abortion topic, but this is much more a story of three strong women who are related to each other – even if they don't always relate to each other.


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