Film The Madman

★★★ 3/4

Simple, bittersweet, and moving, Paul Weitz’s Grandma works not because of the supremely progressive nature of its subject matter, but because it presents these themes in such a quaint, old-fashioned way. It’s a trip through an über-liberal worldview presented as a classic cranky-old-person comedy, Archie Bunker as filtered through Rachel Maddow and The Feminine Mystique.

Elle (Tomlin) is a washed-up poet and academic with a vicious streak she uses to seal herself off from the quotidian trivialities of normal human interaction. Particularly cruel is the way she breaks up with her much younger current lover Olivia (Judy Greer), telling her “You’re a footnote,” before ordering her to leave her house key on the coffee table. Elle has found herself increasingly isolated after the death of her longtime girlfriend—the two were together for almost four decades—and is now severing whatever ties to the rest of the world she…

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