Sony Pictures Classics announced late last night that it has acquired the worldwide rights to “Grandma,” in a deal reported to be worth roughly $2 million. Premiering Friday at Sundance, the film stars Lily Tomlin as sharp-tongued poet Elle Reid, who breaks off a four-month relationship with her girlfriend (Judy Greer) and traverses L.A. to scrounge up the $600 her granddaughter (Julia Garner) needs for an abortion. Directed by Paul Weitz (“About a Boy”), the film also features Marcia Gay Harden, Sam Elliott, “Orange is the New Black” stalwart Laverne Cox, John Cho, and the late Elizabeth Peña, in one of her final screen roles.
The news marks the latest milestone in Tomlin’s resurgence, 40 years after her career-defining role in Robert Altman’s “Nashville.” The 75-year-old actress is slated to appear with Jane Fonda in Netflix’s highly anticipated comedy “Grace and Frankie,” which debuts May 8. Early notices for “Grandma” have been largely positive, with Tomlin’s soulful, funny performance receiving particular praise:
Brian Moylan, The Guardian:
“This is really a story about three generations of women and how they
interact with each other. It’s about mothers trying to cope with their
daughters and overcome their personal demons so that they can have
meaningful relationships with each other. And it’s about Lily Tomlin
being a hilarious crank. It’s a pleasure to watch her.”
Scott Foundas, Variety:
“A most impressive detour into low-budget DIY filmmaking for writer-director Paul Weitz (“American Pie,” “About a Boy”), this constantly surprising character piece should spark deserved awards chatter for Tomlin and at least one of her co-stars, as well as solid (if far from “Juno”-sized) indie box office.”
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter:
“Tomlin is in her glorious element. It doesn’t hurt that there are
numerous other expertly gauged performances to savor, plus a bundle of
heart, in this small-scale but consistently funny and poignant
Sony also picked up Marielle Heller’s Sundance competition title “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” amid one of the festival’s most heated acquisitions markets in years.