5/01/2017 19:45.
Cert 15

Grandma sees Lily Tomlin in top acerbic form. Elle, a lesbian, has been estranged from her family for many years, but when her granddaughter Sage turns to her for help with paying for an abortion, a new dialogue is established. Paul Weitz brings together a strong ensemble cast ensuring the dual themes of sexuality and abortion are discussed both in a humorous and humane manner. A road movie with an alternative destination. “Part road movie, part ethics play, all heartwarming comedy, writer-director Paul Weitz brings to the screen another lovely entry in his own body of work that has been centred on the tender ties that bind family and friends together.” Allie Gemmill, Cine Vue. (Cert 15)
Dir: Paul Weitz 75mins USA 2015

Programme Notes

Poet Elle’s granddaughter of eighteen, Sage, approaches her for a loan of $630 for an abortion. Elle doesn’t have it, so the couple go on a hunt – a ‘gynaecological Nebraska’ in six episodes – to raise the money, visiting Sage’s impregnator and miscellaneous others from their pasts as well as from present relationships, with some of whom they are not exactly relaxed.

“Though likely to be variously praised and pilloried as a pro-choice film, Weitz’s film is really a movie about choice in both the specific and the abstract – about the choices we make for good and for ill, and how we come to feel about them through the prism of time. ‘Time passes – that’s for sure’ reads an on-screen epigram at the start of Grandma, a quotation from the poet Eileen Myles (another model for the Tomlin character) and, like Myles, Weitz suggests there are few other certainties in life. We will grow older, maybe wiser, perhaps a bit more tolerant but no closer to understanding the stirrings of the human heart” Guy Lodge,

Elle Reid – Lily Tomlin
Sage – Julia Garner
Judy – Marcia Gay Harden
Deathy – Laverne Cox
Carla – Elizabeth Peña (died 2014)
Francesca – Judy Geeson 
Director – Paul Weitz
Producers – Paul Weitz, Andrew Miano, et al.
Screenplay – Paul Weitz
Cinematography – Tobias Datum
Music – Joel P. West
Editing – Jon Corn


  • What a delightful, humanitarian, funny and thoughtful film. Such a tonic in these dark and dismal times.
  • Thanks for showing it!
  • Worked on many levels – funny, poignant, sad and powerful
  • It was great to see a film that dealt with abortion in such a straightforward and realistic way. Lily Tomlin was great
  • Excellent in terms of the necessity of raising and acknowledging the complexities of the issues
  • Good that Americans can talk about abortion
  • Excellent film!
  • Convincing
  • Superb – vintage Tomlin
  • Very funny – Lily Tomlin was great
  • Wonderful and heart-warming
  • Solid crowd-pleasing, contemporary comedy featuring strong female leads
  • Thank God for grandmas like Elle. Brilliantly acted by all
  • Very well written and delivered
  • Well acted. Great message about generation bonding, without moralising
  • A modern folk morality tale
  • Bittersweet – but that’s life!
  • Rolled along quite nicely
  • I was glad when it all ended well!
  • Sad that Sage didn’t keep the baby after all of Elle’s delaying tactics
  • Lily Tomlin very good but finding-cash ‘journey’ rather predictable
  • Too much gratuitous dysfunction for my taste. No idea what the film was trying to do
  • I sympathised with Elle – so much aggro and finally pathos. Again, some dialogue indecipherable
  • The 1995 [sic – commentator means 1959!] Dodge Royal is LT’s own car. Like her, a bit of a museum piece
  • Not my experience of grandparent-hood – must have missed something!