Grandmother Takes Action in Heartfelt Sundance Film Festival Debut at 94

LOS ANGELES – Thelma, a film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, stands out amidst a sea of lackluster offerings. The movie features June Squibb in her first leading role at the age of 94, defying age-related limitations in a heartwarming story. Directed and written by Josh Margolin, a veteran in improv comedy, Thelma portrays Squibb as an unlikely action hero who embarks on a mission to retrieve the $10,000 she was scammed out of.

Drawing inspiration from Mission Impossible, Thelma captivates viewers with its portrayal of daily life as a nonagenarian. The character, based on Margolin’s real-life grandmother, exhibits wit, wonder, and a stubbornness that stems from deep love. In the film, Thelma lives alone in a Los Angeles condominium following the death of her husband. With her independence hanging by a thread, she is closely monitored by her daughter Gail and son-in-law Alan, who fear for her well-being. Only her grandson Danny sees her as a fully capable person, though he tends to underestimate her abilities.

Thelma’s ordinary elderly habits and restricted world are humorously depicted in the film, never crossing over into mockery. The story takes a dramatic turn when she falls victim to a telephone scam, convinced that her grandson Danny needs $10,000 for bail. Unwilling to accept her mistake as a mere joke, Thelma is determined to reclaim the money and takes matters into her own hands.

As Thelma embarks on her journey to retrieve the funds, the film brilliantly balances humor with the difficult realities of old age. The portrayal of Thelma’s struggle is never cloying, always maintaining a grounded perspective. Squibb’s performance as Thelma is captivating, showcasing her understated humor and commanding presence. The character remains vital despite societal pressures and personal circumstances that often marginalize the elderly.

Thelma offers a refreshing perspective on the later years of life, a viewpoint not often seen on screen. The film effectively conveys the fear and devastation that comes with a fall and the arduousness of simple tasks like getting in and out of bed. The talented team behind the movie skillfully incorporates visual and sonic elements of an action film, lending authenticity to Thelma’s mission. While some comedic moments lean towards sitcom territory, these minor quibbles do not detract from the overall warmth and winsomeness of the film.

Watching Thelma is a joyous experience, leaving the audience with both laughter and tears. The film resonates with those who have coached a loved one through computer use or witnessed the fight for dignity in old age. Squibb’s performance as a vibrant and determined Thelma reminds us of the unwavering spirit that can exist even as life’s possibilities dwindle. Thelma is a must-see for its genuine portrayal of the sunset years and its celebration of life’s unexpected heroes.