Paul Weitz, who went from films like About a Boy and the first American Pie to Little Fockers and Admission (the Tina Fey-Paul Rudd comedy from 2013). His latest film, Grandma, rips him right from his rut, with what might be his strongest film yet.
Fresh from a breakup, Ellie (Lily Tomlin) gets a surprising visit from her granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) who needs about $600 to get an abortion. Both of them broke and refraining from asking Sage’s mother, the two go out on an adventure to gather money for an abortion before the appointment at 5:45.
Lily Tomlin is in the middle of her renaissance because after securing an Emmy nomination for Grace & Frankie this year, it’s likely she’ll get an Oscar nom this year for Grandma. She is simply outstanding, making it difficult to imagine anybody else in the role. Paul Weitz wrote a terrific character for Tomlin, and she absolutely aced the tough, foul-mouthed granny.
Her attitude throughout this whole situation ranges from hilarious to slightly heartbreaking as the movie sheds its comedic roots early on for something more along the lines of a playful drama. It was sad to see the laughs go, but Tomlin and Weitz really knocked the character out of the park. Enough to the point where it’s hard to complain.
Julia Garner, who has had roles in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, plays her character well enough. The scared teenager understandably keeps her cool, leaving a very sustained role for Garner to play with. She definitely has acting chops though, and I hope we get to see more of the curly-haired 21-year-old in bigger roles.
The 80-minute dramedy lives and breathes off of Tomlin’s excellent performance and Weitz’s top-notch writing. There’s nothing too groundbreaking here, but those looking for a personal character-driven joy ride should absolutely give Grandma a watch.