The Electric Grandmother (1982)
aka Ray Bradbury's The Electric Grandmother
Viewing Date: 5-22-2012
Posting Date: 5-26-2012
Directed by Noel Black
Featuring Maureen Stapleton, Edward Herrmann, Paul Benedict
What it is: Bittersweet science fantasy
A family grieving the loss of the mother decide to take advantage of an offer to get a robot grandmother. The new grandmother wins the hearts of the father and the two boys, but will she be able to win over the inconsolable daughter?
I was a little disappointed by this adaptation of the Ray Bradbury story "I Sing the Body Electric" during the first twenty minutes; I found it lacking in that poetic verve I expect from a Bradbury adaptation. However, the movie does a quick turnaround once the grandmother arrives and the story begins to focus on her relationship with the daughter, whose grief has given way to bitterness and anger. It is the movie's focus on grief and the fear of loss that gives it its dimension, and it effectively taps into that desire that those we love will be with us forever by giving us a parental figure who won't go away; the final scene in which the children have become old enough to be grandparents themselves is very moving. The movie isn't flashy, but it resonates emotionally and it keeps its magic simple. Recommended.