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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Thelma’ is amazing and amusing

Jun 21, 2024, 1:00 PM

'Thelma' is based on a true story where a grandma was scammed....

'Thelma' is based on a true story where a grandma was scammed.

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — My favorite sports hero, Willie Mays, passed away earlier this week at the age of 93.  June Squibb just made an “action” movie and she’s one year older.

While most of us will never come close to reaching those numbers of years on Earth, I’m sure glad both of them did.  Willie was the best that ever was and June has been pretty darn amazing too over that time span.

She plays Thelma Post, a sweet, but feisty little old lady, who loves her grandson Danny (Fred Hechinger). She loves him even though he’s struggling in his finances and relationships. 

One afternoon, Thelma gets a call from supposedly Danny. He’s saying he’s in big trouble with the law and needs $10,000 dollars cash in bail money.  Send it to this address blah blah blah.

Beyond upset, Thelma tries to call him back.  She even tries to reach her daughter Gail (Parker Posey) and son-in-law Alan (Clark Gregg) to verify the situation. 

Nobody is picking up.  So off she goes to the post office. She plops the envelope full of cash in the mailbox and goes home in a panic.

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It’s then that she realizes she’s been scammed.  The police say they can do nothing, but Thelma is not having it. She retrieves the address and is determined to confront the thieves, if she can find them.

However, she can’t drive and everyone listed in her little address book are either dead or can’t drive either. 

She comes up with a plan to borrow an old friend Ben’s electric scooter (Richard Roundtree in his last performance) and travel across town to the villain’s lair. 

Now I know this sounds like a comedy and it does have it’s clever, funny moments, but Thelma is serious and it’s played straight up.

In fact, the character Thelma is based on the writer/director Josh Margolin’s real grandmother who was scammed in the same manner.  She makes an appearance in the closing credits.

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At one point before the scam, Thelma and Danny are watching a Mission: Impossible movie with the athletic Tom Cruise doing his own stunts as usual.

Later in this movie, Thelma is doing her own stunts. Albeit climbing stairs, standing on a bed or rolling over an ottoman. Just as difficult for a woman in her Nineties as Cruise’s efforts in his Sixties.

It’s certainly not played for laughs, but it is amazing and amusing.

It was also a pleasant surprise to see the great Richard Roundtree (the original “Shaft”) in one final performance before his passing last October at the age of 81.

So, if you’re having a pity party about getting old, check out what these amazing actors have come up with at their ages.  It’s fun, but also addresses the idea that even though we think we can still do all the things we used to – perhaps we shouldn’t – unless you’re Thelma – then I guess go for it. 

THELMA (B+) Rated PG-13 for strong language. Starring June Squibb, Fred Hechinger, Richard Roundtree, Parker Posey and Clark Gregg. Written and directed by Josh Margolin in his feature film debut – Thelma’s apartment scenes were shot in Los Angeles where the real Thelma still lives at the age of 103. Running time: 97 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500. 

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Thelma’ is amazing and amusing