Submitted by admin on Wed, 06/19/2024 - 14:38
I don't often step up and offer personal thoughts on new openings.  After all, we are opening several films every week, and we love all our children equally.  Also, those of you who have spotted me at the theatre (after ONLY IN THEATERS, I've sacrificed any anonymity I might have enjoyed) know that sometimes I'm catching up on films together with you at regular screenings.  Not surprisingly, I prefer to see things in a theatre and don't like to watch things via screening links, even if offered in advance.
But with THELMA, we have a film that I did get to see at an early festival showing, and I LOVED it so much that I can't help but share my enthusiasm.  Even after making allowance for the euphoria that can come with a festival screening, I think THELMA is a terrific picture, and one that I hope gets a ton of support from audiences.  It is a warm and funny film, and the central performances from veteran actors June Squibb and Richard Roundtree are precious. We open the film on Friday at all but one of our theaters.
Mind you, I'm not alone in being a fan of this film.   Since it premiered at Sundance earlier this year, critics have been almost unanimous in their support.  The film is at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty impressive for a comedy.  Here's a sampling of some of the reviews:
"Holding out until the age of 94 for her first lead role, June Squibb proves what her legion of devoted fans has always known: she’s a superstar." ~ Fionnuala Halligan, Screen International

"Bolstered by some cheeky action tropes, including twists, chases, gunplay, and even an explosion, Thelma is more than a winsome romp. It's a real thrill." ~ Kristy Puchko, Mashable

"Thelma’s adventures with her assisted-living chum (the late Richard Roundtree) generated some of the best laughs from any film in the fest, and those scenes between grandma and grandson touched my soul." ~ Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

"Margolin hails from improv comedy and he’s based Thelma on his own grandma; there’s much love and humour in this most unlikely of action movies." ~ Peter Howell, Toronto Star

"It’s likely to draw laughs if you’ve ever coached someone on how to use a computer, tears if you’ve ever loved an elderly person who held tightly to their dignity. And Squibb is as understatedly funny and commanding as you’d expect." ~ Adrian Horton, Guardian

"Although the film’s action tropes are played for laughs, there’s a real sweetness under all the gags. A lesser actress could’ve turned Thelma into a retirement home caricature, but Squibb, of course, brings a thoughtful and sweet nuance to her heroine." ~ Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly

A big part of the film is about the relationship between Grandmother and Grandson.  And as someone who was fortunate to have a close relationship with my grandmother, that really resonated with me, including the issue of helping an older generation learn to adopt to new technologies.  When Thelma in the film mistakenly posts to Instagram, I think back to my grandmother not understanding how answering machines worked, and leaving long messages on the tape thinking that I had picked up her call but was not responding.   Of course, if I'm so blessed, I can also see myself in the film, 20 years from now trying to figure out whatever fresh hell the tech geniuses of the world have foisted on us.  Like the Tralfalmadorians in Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, we know what horrors the future will bring us, but we have just surrendered to the idea that we are powerless to stop it from happening.As humans, we know that aging is inevitable. And that certain aspects of aging may also be inevitable. Physical frailty. Diminished mental acuity. The loss of friends and things (work, social clubs, etc.) that keep us connected to the broader world.Is this inevitable? We probably can do something to change or ameliorate the situation. But will we? THELMA certainly shows us one badass grandma who isn't about to take things lying down!So maybe that is what is what I love most about THELMA.  I can see myself as all of the generations represented in the film.  And, just maybe, I can hope that I will be as feisty and resourceful as Thelma when I get to that age.  ~ Greg LaemmleHere's Ms. Squibb's recent interview on the Today Show: