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Lucky Grandma

By Alexandra
Review and snippets from the Q&A

(London Film Festival)

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"Lucky Grandma" gives center stage to a strong-willed grandma who does things her way and doesn't take *crap* from anyone, not even the Chinese mafia. Determined to be self-sufficient or maybe not wanting to acknowledge that she might need help, Grandma Wong tries to make a fortune at the casino so as to pay for her flat. Will she let it go and let people in?

The film has a very strong and beautiful intro, with superb opening credits and music. It captivates and lures the audience in, it's smart and funny. About 30-40 minutes in, though, it starts to fluctuate and it feels slightly stretched. While still being a good watch, it loses its comedic vibe and becomes a drama that's quite upsetting at times. Not the laughing out loud times I was promised.

Sasie Sealy, the director and co-writer said "Lucky Grandma" was a "love-letter to China Town and funky-ass grandmas everywhere",  while adding that the film was not meant to feel real, but true, based on reality and then pushed to create a China Town that felt "true but still imaginative".
Indeed, "Lucky Grandma" was made in real parts of China Town in New York, not on a set, and locals were cast as extras.

One of the producers said that there were many versions of the script and alternate endings to the film, and while I am not going to reveal the actual ending, I have to say I wish they would have picked one of the alternate ones as I kept waiting for the punch to land and for the film to turn into the raucous comedy it had the potential to be. Kudos to Tsai Chin for her amazing play!

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