Reviews: Grandma; Red Rosa

16 Dec

Saw Grandma tonight and have to say I was underwhelmed. As vehicle for uncovering the high principles, low cunning and wrinkled foibles of septuagenarian feminist and hippie, academic and poet, lesbian and life-loving misanthrope, a picaresque day in the life – one that sees Ellie and grandchild Sage scrape the barrels of friendships past and filial enmity present to drum up six hundred and thirty bucks for an abortion – didn’t cut it for me. Not enough story.

I won’t say I was bored; just that I kept thinking I was about to be. I won’t say there were no dramatic turning points either; just that they weren’t big or cathartic enough. That mightn’t be a bad thing – this is above all a character piece, with Lily Tomlin as the eponymous gran turning in a bravura performance that’s had reviewers gushing – but all the ground could have been covered in a decent fifty minute drama for small screen. That said, I should leave room for the possibility I’m the right age but wrong sex. While the two teenage girls I went with – neither a gum chewing philistine – found it more tedious than I had, their mum was decidedly upbeat so don’t let me put a dampener on things. If you too are a babyboomer, but XX rather than XY, this might be just the thing.


Far better to be a dreamer than to shoot down the dreams of others …The leadership  is dedicated to parliamentary politics. They seek to twist and turn everything to that. Yet, meanwhile, the masses and the great mass of comrades have had their fill of parliaments and politicians.

Meanwhile, if we’re talking womanhood celebrated, here’s something more to my tastes: a rare treat for feminist and socialist alike, neither group markedly au fait with the human whirlwind that was Rosa Luxemburg. Red Rosa by Kate Evans is a work of flat out brilliance; a fuller story of a great life than I’d thought to see. Rosa’s mighty spirit and towering intellect – both much in evidence as she took on Lenin, no less, over the nationalist question – shine through every page, as do the ups and downs of a tempestuous love life integral to one whose eloquence on dialectics did not shy from those of individual and society, personal and public.

How come so few socialists are aware of this woman? Eyes roll at such a question – because she’s a woman, stupid! – but if anything she’s even less known to feminists. So here’s a tip. If your friends include either set, and you’re stuck for seasonal gift ideas, get yourself to the local bookstore today. You won’t regret it and neither will they.

Oh, almost forgot. The whole story is in beautiful, monochrome graphics. Just so you know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *