Grandma

Grandma
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Cast

Grandma

Paul Weitz, regista e sceneggiatore, autore di pregevoli film di successo come “About a boy”, “American Pie”, “In Good Company”, ecc. , ha dichiarato di aver voluto fare questo film per poter trascorrere del tempo con l’attrice Lily Tomlin e di aver scritto la sceneggiatura pensando solo a lei. Lily Tomlin, lesbica dichiarata, è una delle attrici americane più premiate, sia per il cinema (dove però non ha mai avuto i ruoli principali) che per il teatro che per la tv (sette Emmys e tre Tony Awards compresi). In effetti in questo film Lily Tolmin è presente dalla prima all’ultima scena, con tutta la sua forza dirompente e la sua grande maestria: impossibile non rimanere irretiti davanti a tanta capacità espressiva. Da subito appare chiaro il suo personaggio, Elle, una vivace 70enne, una donna dal carattere forte, dallo spirito libero, estremamente sincera, incurante di quello che possono pensare gli altri di lei. All’inizio del film la vediamo che sta rompendo in modo assai brutale con la sua fidanzata Olivia (Judy Greer). La sua filippica contro la donna, assai più giovane (ha 39 anni) è del tipo ‘ti ferisco io prima che possa farlo tu’. In effetti le due donne si stanno frequentando solo da quattro mesi, e per Elle è sempre stato chiaro che la differenza di età era un’ostacolo insormontabile. Elle ha avuto in passato una storia d’amore durata 40 anni e dopo averla ricordata dice ad Olivia: “Tu sei solo una nota a fondo pagina”. Sembrerebbe una donna dura e sprezzante ma in realtà capiremo poi quanto sia anche delicata e tenera. Elle scrive poesie, senza curarsi troppo di pubblicarle, e certamente non naviga nell’oro. Le complicazioni arrivano quando bussa alla sua porta la nipote Sage (Julia Garner), in cerca di soldi per poter abortire. La ragazza ha l’appuntamento col dottore alle 17.45 dello stesso giorno, quindi c’è pochissimo tempo. Elle non ha i soldi sufficienti, così, nonna e nipote partono per un’intricato giro da vecchi amici, vecchie fiamme e infine dall’arcigna figlia di Elle (che sembra aver preso dalla madre solo i lati peggiori), alla ricerca di un prestito. Con tutti Elle sembra avere lasciato qualcosa in sospeso, almeno sentimentalmente …. La storia raccontata è assai semplice e quello che succede veramente nel film è soprattutto un’incontro-scontro tra generazioni, tra vecchio e nuovo femminismo, tra vecchie e nuove aspettative, dove ciascuno sembra avere ancora qualcosa da imparare dall’altro. Le personalità delle due protagoniste, ma anche quelle di altri (come il bravissimo Sam Elliott che interpreta Carl, un vecchio amico di Elle, la durissima figlia interpretata da una splendida Marcia Gay Harden, la carismatica Laverne Cox, o il mite John Cho) si rivelano pian piano in un susseguirsi di battute deliziose e sempre interessanti, che rendono il film godile dall’inizio alla fine, lasciandoci con il rimpianto di non aver avuto anche noi una nonna come questa.

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  1. Mi ha deluso, sembra un film per la tv per come è stato scritto e recitato. Avrebbe potuto essere molto più profondo e toccante, invece l’eccesso nella caratterizzazione dei personaggi (a cominciare dalla strafottente nonna protagonista) rende tutto molto banale. Un film che si dimentica appena visto. Carina la colonna sonora.

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trailer: Grandma

Varie

Self-described misanthrope Elle Reid has her protective bubble burst when her 18-year-old granddaughter, Sage, shows up needing help. The two of them go on a day-long journey that causes Elle to come to terms with her past and Sage to confront her future.

Elle Reid has just gotten through breaking up with her girlfriend when her granddaughter Sage unexpectedly shows up needing 600 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.

CRITICA:

Lily Tomlin’s performance in writer-director Paul Weitz’s Grandma doesn’t just hint at that idea — it lives in it. The movie gets off to a shaky start, working too hard to establish the unrepentant prickliness of Tomlin’s character, a widowed poet named Elle. But it gradually settles and deepens into something nuanced and moving, a character study that’s not so much about aging, specifically, as it is about the great and awful process of getting to know yourself. As Elle finds out, even when you think you know everything, there’s always more to learn.
Grandma opens with a breakup, a rather vicious one: The seventy-ish Elle is calling it quits with a younger woman we quickly ascertain is her girlfriend — it’s the sort of breakup where, believing you know where a relationship is headed, you drive the knife in farther and deeper than you need to, preemptively wounding your partner more than he or she could ever hurt you. The girlfriend, Olivia (Judy Greer), stands dumbstruck. As Elle’s tirade escalates, we learn that the two have been seeing each other for only four months, but that Elle has always known the age difference would eventually become a problem. We learn that although she’s been writing poetry lately, she’s been lazy about getting it published. Writing poetry is all about paring language to the essential minimum, and we learn just how good Elle is at cutting people down, too. After making reference to a previous partner, one she’d been with for nearly 40 years, Elle tells Olivia, “You’re a footnote.”
Who says a thing like that? Usually a person who doesn’t mean it, but that never lessens the sting. Once Olivia, understandably hurt and angry, takes her leave, we learn that Elle isn’t as brittle and heartless as she thinks she is, a truth that Tomlin imparts to us resolutely but with her back to the camera, as if she were guarding Elle’s privacy.
This is just the beginning of the tart, subterranean grandeur Tomlin, who has always been a marvelous actress but who hasn’t had a leading role in nearly 30 years, brings to Grandma. This is her second film with Weitz — she also appeared in his last movie, 2013’s Admission — and though the director has said that he’d had the basic idea for Grandma for years, it wasn’t until he met Tomlin that he knew exactly how to write the character. Tomlin fills out the role like a tree spreading its branches and roots, though she brings a superb lightness to it, too: Elle’s acidity often has a comic kick — for her, wisecracks aren’t just a defense mechanism but a means of surviving the worst.
And she needs those wisecracks, perhaps now more than ever: Her granddaughter, Sage (Julia Garner), shows up on her doorstep, announcing that she’s pregnant and needs $600 for an abortion. Sage is so ethereal-looking you almost can’t quite believe she could conceive a human child — with her halo of pale-blond curls, she’s like an Arthur Rackham fairy. But she’s all too human, and Elle, after briefly berating her for her carelessness, agrees to help, even though, having recently cut up all her credit cards, she’s low on funds herself. The two pile into Elle’s car, a bumptiously elegant 1955 Dodge Royal (Tomlin’s own, bought in 1975), in search of the money Sage needs to solve her problem.
During this road trip, the thorny, multi-dead-end map of family resentments is laid out. Sage doesn’t dare tell her distracted businesswoman mother, Judy (played, with both sharpness and subtlety, by Marcia Gay Harden), about the pregnancy. Elle isn’t speaking to Judy, either — the two have had a falling-out. What’s more, all three women are still in mourning for Violet, Elle’s longtime partner, Judy’s mom, and Sage’s other grandmother: She died not so long ago, after suffering through an illness. Grandma is a multigenerational story in which men are side players, though they’re not completely negligible. In one of the movie’s finest and most piercing scenes, Elle and Sage seek out one of Elle’s old friends, who, it turns out, was at one time something more. Karl (Sam Elliott) is happy enough to see Elle, but he’s puzzled too. What follows is part tender reconciliation, part brutal showdown. It’s also a point of reckoning for Elle, who has a seemingly endless ability to inflict damage on other people. (Elliott was recently seen in Brett Haley’s intimately magnificent comedy-drama I’ll See You in My Dreams, and he’s just as terrific here.)
Elle seems not to care that she has caused pain — and yet she betrays, in the smallest of ways, that she does care. In one of the movie’s slyest moments, Elle, a woman whose beauty is of the no-makeup and uncombed-hair variety, adds a swipe of lipstick just before she and Sage head off to see Karl — there is no woman who doesn’t occasionally feel the need for some sexual armor. But Elle’s calculation is all right there on the surface, not just on her lips but also in her quips and her barbs. Her tenderness runs much deeper, as she shows in a late scene where she reconnects with Olivia, perhaps showing her erstwhile lover more kindness in ten minutes than she’d shown during the course of the duo’s brief relationship.
Temperamentally, Tomlin’s character in Grandma is nothing like the one she played so long ago in Robert Altman’s Nashville, a dutiful, married mother of two who succumbs to the seductive charms of Keith Carradine’s singer-songwriter Casanova. But watching Tomlin here, as a woman who is 1,000 percent herself and could perhaps use a little dilution, I kept thinking of that scene in Nashville — possibly its most beautiful — where Carradine sings to Tomlin from the stage of a packed club. She listens, her face immobile but as filled with feeling as a cupful of tears. She knows that even if he has dozens or hundreds of lovers, this song is only for her. The song is everything, and not just for the moment — it’s something to be carried forward for the rest of life, even after the lover is long gone. Tomlin packed a lifetime of future feeling into those few moments of Nashville. In Grandma she shows us the aftermath of the song. The short version: Life went on. It was terrible. It was wonderful. (Stephanie Zacharek, Villagevoice.com)

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