What is the story about?
Eva is a young lawyer, leading a near-perfect life, all set to marry the man of her dreams, Stuart who hails from an aristocratic, conservative Scottish family. Just the time when Eva is dreaming of a stable future with Stuart, a call from her grandma Sofia turns her world topsy-turvy. A 70s old Sofia comes out as a lesbian to her family and expresses her interest to marry Celia, her childhood sweetheart. The news sparks chaos and Eva is out to do everything to prevent their union, fearing it would break her engagement with Stuart. Little does Eva know that her trip to the woods to meet her grandma would change the course of her life as well.
The advantage/disadvantage of having a film title as blunt and direct as ‘So My Grandma’s a Lesbian’ is that you know what to expect from it. The premise isn’t earth-shattering and in fact, is as predictable as it can get. And isn’t that the best part of some films? They don’t dream high but deliver what they promise. The storytelling pattern screams of obviousness at every end and yet you have a film that touches a human chord – clichés aren’t always bad if channelised with some verve.
The title suggests a story of an elderly woman coming out to her family, which for the most part is true, but the film is equally about a youngster’s journey towards self-acceptance and accepting her family with all its imperfections. A brash urban youngster on the cusp of marriage, who thinks her life is well sorted, goes back to the woods to solve a crisis within the family. The trip expectedly turns out to be a journey towards self-discovery, where she rekindles her love with a long-time friend and learns a thing or two about life. It’s just the warm, fuzzy, familiar material that you need to fill up a lazy evening at home.
Most coming-out LGBT dramas follow a familiar storytelling trope and in this sense too, this film isn’t any different. At a point, Jorge, the son of Celia, even considers a neurologist to check if his mom’s doing fine (after coming out as a lesbian). However, the novelty in the material comes through its 70-year-old protagonist who has little fear of not being accepted by the society (unlike a 20-40-year-old character who may have fought to normalise it). The film counters religious dogmas in addition to the main conflict and also takes on the very idea of an ‘ideal’ family.
Nearly all the characters in the family have embarrassing stories to tell but the story only hints us to have a hearty laugh about it and move on. The sexual tension between Eva and her bosom friend Jorge in the sequence where the latter talks about the mating of two gorillas in a forest is terrifically constructed. The farcical ending to the film works alright without the heaviness/preachiness of the stories in this genre. The appeal of a film like So My Grandma’s a Lesbian is limited; don’t go in expecting to be blown away. The crisp one-and-half-hour running time is a definite bonus.
Ingrid García Jonsson as Eva perfectly mirrors the hypocritical urban youngster who can’t look at the world beyond themselves. She does well to tap into the vulnerability of her character and helps you buy her gradual transformation. Rosa Maria Sardà and Verónica Forqué are at their cheery best together, having a gala time and displaying their flair for comic timing. David Verdaguer is a perfect choice to play the good-old wise soul, who brings in a balance to the life of his childhood friend Eva. Pol Monen’s portrayal of Said, a happy go lucky youngster with a deep understanding of spirituality, is delightful to watch. Mónica López, Candela Peña, Leander Vyvey fit the bill for their parts perfectly and enact them with assurance.
Music & Other Departments
Lucas Vidal’s work exudes a diverse musical flavour that richly captures the soundscape of life by the countryside in Spain. Cinematographer José Luis Alcaine chooses a lively colour palette, makes the most of the scenic landscapes, alluring backdrops and brings in a sense of belongingness/earthiness to the relationship drama through the visuals. Ángeles Reiné, the writer-director, does a neat job of a predictable story and gives a unique, empathetic voice to her female characters.
- Well-mounted story
- Apt casting, commendable performances
- Uniquely etched characters
- Predictable storytelling
- Absence of any attempt to subvert a done-to-death template
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?
Only to those with an appetite for saccharine relationship dramas