‘So my Grandma’s a lesbian!’ is the latest Netflix film to join the augmented representation of the LGBTQIA+ community within today’s media.
The Netflix original, directed and written by Ángeles Reiné, was released on the 22nd of January, 2021 and has so far received a melange of reviews which all seem to gather to the same conclusion: it could have been better.
The Spanish ‘comedy’, which didn’t particularly serve one with many opportunities to laugh out loud, is centred around Sofia (Verónica Forqué) and Celia (Rosa María Sardà), two women in their 70s who come out to their family and friends with the news that they love one another and plan to get married, ultimately deciding to be who they are regardless of what others think: a somewhat sweet and empowering plotline and message.
When the news breaks, however, most of those close to the women react in a melodramatic, puerile and frankly homophobic way. This is particularly seen in frontwoman Eva (Ingrid García-Jonsson) who tries to break up the wedding due to her ultra conservative in laws, and also seen in Jorge (David Verdaguar), Celia’s son, who thinks his mother needs to see a neurologist.
Watching the story and characters opinions unfold in these contemporary, slightly more progressive times, serves only to evoke annoyance and anger in the viewer. It is tiresome watching LGBTQIA+ movies take this angle: examining LGBTQIA+ relationships through a mostly negative scope. This approach is not only clichéd and wearisome, it also validates and encourages ill-minded views of the community. It is unprogressive and unoriginal.
Though there is a lot about the film to dislike, some elements of the film work fairly well. There are some infrequent, humorous moments such as when Celia is using the megaphone and it goes off uncontrollably playing unrequested, loud noises, or when she says she’s ‘coming out of the wardrobe’ instead of the closet, as the latter expression is ‘too masculine’ for her. Moments like these are memorable as they are the few instances of originality within the script. Thus, at times, brilliance does shine through the film’s thoroughly cracked script.
In regards to the cinematography, the camera work and scenery occasionally allows the film to be rather aesthetically gripping and pleasurable. Another element of the film worth celebrating is the sincere range of representation and inclusivity of characters, depicting individuals of differed races, cultures, faiths and disabilities.
Notably, though, something I appreciated and enjoyed in the film was its use of religion as the problem and the solution. Religion in the film is a big reason why characters take the unaccepting positions that they do, however, it is also the solution for the two women: as Celia often expresses, God made her the way she is and so God has to accept her for being gay. It is quite refreshing to see religion being used for open rather than just narrow mindedness, especially in gay film.
Overall, however, the film was flat and predictable, lacking any serious originality and depth. There were so many storylines and side plots throughout the film that it never really felt like it ebbed and flowed smoothly. This erased any real hope that one might connect with any character or storyline as there was not enough time given to explore anything with any degree of thoroughness, and when resolutions were made (such as Eva realising that supporting her family for who they are is the most important thing and not what people think about them) it seems an unnatural, forced conclusion. There was no time given to develop this decision – one minute she thought one thing and the next she didn’t: a pattern throughout the film and its characters.
It must also be said that the transitions between scenes were rough, with the editing being notably both gaudy and poor, and though some reviewers have credited the acting, it was not particularly noteworthy. Granted, some scenes are acted well, but overall, the performances do little to grab the audience’s attention.
Overall, ‘So my Grandma’s is a lesbian!’ is a light-hearted, severely average film at best. Though there are some things to like about it, it is at the end of the day nothing anyone hasn’t created or seen before in the sphere of LGBTQIA+ cinema, it is a forgettable ninety or so minutes and much like the film’s end, it was disappointing.
featured image credit: Ready Steady Cut