When her teenage granddaughter (Julia Garner) needs $630 for an abortion, Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin) takes her on a little road trip to try to raise cash. A low-budget comedy with very serious undertones that provides Tomlin with her first starring role in a movie since the late 1980s. She’s wonderful as the acerbic poet who has an excellent ability to push people away. As she and her granddaughter try to scrape together money, the movie finds ways to address multiple issues, including growing old, generational conflicts and America’s continuing cultural divide over abortion. Clearly a labor of love for Paul Weitz and Tomlin; her character relies heavily on wisecracks, but still feels like a real person.
2015-U.S. 79 min. Color. Produced by Terry Douglas, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis, Andrew Miano, Paul Weitz. Written and directed by Paul Weitz. Cast: Lily Tomlin (Elle Reid), Julia Garner (Sage), Marcia Gay Harden (Judy), Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Elizabeth Peña… Nat Wolff, Sam Elliott.
Last word: “I think that even if you’re working with the best studio, if you have any guilt mechanism, you feel concerned about spending a lot of money on a movie and worried about it, if you’re going to make the studio back their money. You start to worry about things other than purely whether the movie is as good as possible. For me, this was definitely one of the progressions. In this case, it was just a story that I thought was really interesting, and then, when I started writing it with Lily’s voice in my head, I knew it was going to be funny. I feel like humor is the one thing that’s relatively irreducible. It doesn’t matter what budget you have, as far as whether the thing’s funny or not or whether the acting’s good or not.” (Weitz, Coming Soon)