Grandma Bruce (2024)
Grandma Bruce (2024)

Genre: Dramatic Comedy and Short Running Time: 13 min.

Release Date: March 23rd, 2024 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Brooke Stern Sebold Actors: Laura Chirinos, Monica Piper, Fernanda Urrejola, Yesmin Duarte, Juan Rodrigues

 


 

“W

e forgot the cheese!” Stressed and anxious over meeting their girlfriend Sofia’s (Fernanda Urrejola) parents for the first time, scrappy filmmaker and dog-lover Brooke (Laura Chirinos) frets over buying the right ingredients and looking presentable for the upcoming introductions. Sofia is a doctor, a poet, an activist, and a strong supporter of Brooke’s career and sensibilities – including fashion ones, such as a trucker hat – as well as the fact that Brooke (also incredibly well-educated) identifies as a “queerdo.” But that specific article of clothing may or may not contribute to, or detract from, a good first impression. “It’s my signature look!”

To unexpectedly help with this significant decision, Brooke’s old Lexus (dubbed “Bruce”) harbors the ghost of their Jewish grandmother (Monica Piper), who is quick to offer up her advice. “I’ve been here the whole time.” But she’s an old-school, backseat driver from the ever-after, insisting that the only way to survive in society – especially in the modern world, which is unkind to, and unknowledgeable about, queer people – is to fit in, to not disrupt standard cultural expectations. This, of course, goes against Brooke’s uniqueness and beliefs, which are to embrace and embolden queerness through art and personal presentation. It’s not enough to merely coexist; Brooke needs to thrive, but as the person she wishes to be, even if it isn’t viewed favorably by everyone.

As is often the case with older generations, they misguidedly claim to only want what’s best. But their lived experiences are rarely applicable to the rapidly-transforming landscape of contemporary life – from finances to politics to education to opportunities to potential. Ultimately, it’s not about the headwear; it’s about life’s choices, opting to remain faithful to one’s identity and approaching individuality truthfully and genuinely, despite the threats and fears of what others may think. This notion is framed against a couple of punchlines (one of which is that aforementioned dairy product), the first of which would have wrapped up the short subject quite sharply. Unfortunately, the second concluding scene is terribly unnecessary, not only ruining the jointly humorous and charming prior moment, but stretching out the ending superfluously (something noticeably detrimental in a film with a brief running time). Nevertheless, the acting is first-rate and the cinematography is crisp (even the credits sequence is unexpectedly blue-ribbon); the production values definitely help “Grandma Bruce” to be a capably-made picture, veiling the shoe-string budget, even if the parting-shot resonance is a touch wobbly.

– Mike Massie

  • 7/10