London Film Festival 2012 – day seven: Happy New Year, Grandma!
Sunday 21st October, 6.30pm – Rich Mix
Maris is a difficult and demanding old lady who lives with her middle aged daughter and her husband, dominating and ruining their lives. The daughter Maritxu is willing to keep going, but her husband Joxemari reverts to trickery and takes Maritxu on holiday, leaving their daughter to take Mari to an old people’s home, hoping that Maritxu will see that it’s for the best once the old lady has settled in.
Maris, however, has a mind of her own, and escapes. Once recovered, she has to stay with her granddaughter, Miren, while Maritxu is still away. Maris causes chaos in Miren’s little flat, leading Miren’s husband and son to suspect that Maris is putting it on just to get her own way. They plan to film her secretly in order to confront her with evidence of her own behaviour in order to stop her manipulating everyone.
Nothing goes according to plan, and the old lady just gets more manipulative and dangerous, leading to a series of disastrous and devastating consequences.
Billed as a dark comedy, the elements of this story make for an ideal setting. Unfortunately it lacks humour, managing only a certain wry irony. Maris’ exploits are accompanied by jovial music, as if she is really a feisty and naughty old lady pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, but what she actually does is confused and nasty. It’s not exactly a sensitive portrayal of Alzheimer’s, nor an old biddy’s fight for freedom.
Black comedy usually works by making you laugh at things you know you shouldn’t be laughing at. The acting is good, the film-making is fine, the idea is great, but the film is just unpleasant.
Read more reviews from the 56th London Film Festival here.