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A 93-year-old woman goes on a vengeful journey after she's conned out of $10,000 in . Thelma Post (June Squibb) is a 93-year-old woman still getting used to living on her own following the death of her husband two years earlier, often receiving help for menial tasks from her grandson Danny (Fred Hechinger). Thelma gets a frantic call from someone who sounds like Danny, telling her that he got in an accident and is in jail. She soon receives a second call from a man (Malcolm McDowell) telling her to mail $10,000 to get Danny out of prison.

It is only after Thelma's daughter Gail (Parker Posey) and husband Alan (Clark Gregg) try to get in touch with Danny that they find out that Thelma was scammed. Refusing to accept the loss of her money, Thelma travels to a nursing home and seeks the help of her old friend Ben (Richard Roundtree). Taking Ben's scooter, Thelma travels to her given address and confronts the people who stole her money.

Thelma Synopsis

Thelma is the feature film debut from writer/director Josh Margolin starring Oscar-nominated actress June Squibb (Nebraska) in the first leading role of her 70+ year career. Squibb stars as the titular Thelma, who finds herself the victim of a telephone scam. While her family wants her to accept the loss, Thelma, inspired by a newspaper article about Tom Cruise with the headline “Mission: Possible,” decides to confront the people who scammed her and get back her money.

Thelma is reluctantly joined on her journey by her friend Ben, played by late Shaft actor Richard Roundtree in his final film role, who seems content with life in a nursing home. Thelma's disappearance worries her daughter Gail and her husband Alan, who blame it on the incompetence of their son Danny, played by Fred Hechinger (Fear Street, Hell of a Summer). However, in actuality, Danny is one of the few who still really cares about Thelma, instead of treating her like a liability.


My Thoughts on Thelma

Thelma is a film semi-inspired by writer/director Josh Margolin's relationship with his grandmother, a dedication to whom appears at the end of the film. Star June Squibb has been acting in stage and film since the 1950s but is best known for collaborating with director Alexander Payne in 2002's About Schmidt and 2013's Nebraska, with her performance in the latter getting her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. Now in her 90s, Squibb finally takes the lead as the titular protagonist in Thelma.

On the surface, Thelma is a geriatric action-comedy that spoofs the cliches in the action genre, most notably the Mission: Impossible franchise, which is alluded to multiple times, including a similar-sounding score. However, the film also deals with the challenges of growing old. This is especially true for Thelma, who wants to keep living independently, even if her body can't handle it anymore.

The inciting incident of Thelma deals with the growing prevalence of phone calls that often target the elderly, which was also tackled earlier this year in the more straightforward action film The Beekeeper. However, the scam itself ends up being little more than a McGuffin to tackle the aforementioned themes about growing old. Even the motives of the scammer played in an extended cameo by Malcolm McDowell tie in with these themes.

While Thelma is a showcase of the talents of June Squibb, the film also gives a final chance to shine for Richard Roundtree, who passed away last fall. Best known for playing the titular role in Shaft, Roundtree gives a very reflexive performance as Ben, who is quite content with the knowledge that he can no longer do the same things he was able to do when he was younger. As such, Thelma ends up being a very fitting swansong for the actor.

Altogether, Thelma uses its geriatric revenge story to provide a social commentary on the challenges of growing old.

Trailer for Thelma

This post was proofread by Grammarly 
Thelma (2024)
Runtime:98 minutes
Director:Josh Margolin
Genres:Action, Comedy
(written by)
Production companies:
When 93-year-old Thelma Post gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, she sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her.
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