Eye For Film >> Movies >> The G (2023) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
“If you let your anger out, you live longer.” This growled assessment could be the life motto of Ann Hunter - or as her step-granddaughter Emma (Romane Denis) calls her “The G”. Played with a fierce intensity by Dale Dickey, who continues to shine in leading roles after years playing memorable character support, Ann is not your average gran.
Inspired by genuine real-life cases and the forceful personality of his own gran, Karl R Hearne’s taut and enjoyably complex thriller outlines a legal scam that sees Ann and her sick husband Chip (Greg Ellwand) branded incapable of looking after themselves and thrust into a care home under the instruction of a “guardian”, who is convinced that the couple have a secret stash of assets.
That Ann is essentially a tough-talking, permanently smoking, heavy drinking old boot, who hates most people but also cares deeply, and for, Chip, makes it all the more shocking when she becomes a victim - although that’s not a label that will last for long. From the off Hearne and Dickey make Ann distinctive. The sight of her pouring vodka into an empty yogurt pot to drink tells us more in seconds than many filmmakers struggle to convey in 15 minutes of dialogue. That Dickey plays this and every other moment of the film utterly unapologetically also speaks to the steely nature of her character, a steel that will become honed to stiletto sharpness as the film progresses.
The care facility has the aura of a Seventies conspiracy theory thriller about it. For a start, the doors are locked for the first month “for residents’ safety”, not that that stops Ann from managing to make her way outside. There she meets fellow resident Joseph (Roc LaFortune) before heading back to trouble inside. What happens next, leads Ann - whose back story is only gradually revealed - to put some dangerous wheels in motion, just as Emma is devising a liberation plot of her own.
This tandem set-up plays dividends for Canadian filmmaker Hearne, who is able to build up a dual head of steam as Emma tries to find ways to get to Ann’s guardian (Bruce Ramsay). Emma, it turns out, is somewhat less capable than her gran when it comes to violent exchanges, although Hearne always keeps the brutality within the bounds of believability. While Ann can handle a knife, there’s a sense that her look might just as easily strike others dead. There is strong support, but this is Dickey’s show and Hearne gives her plenty of great lines to work with while also paying attention to her physical presence - even her smoking has attitude. Dickey also gets to show a softer side to Ann, which, while losing none of her take-no-prisoners attitude, helps stop her character being one note.
Hearne cannily mixes just the right amount of humour in among the action. While Ann’s wit is foul-mouthed and dry as a bone - no doubt the reason she got ex-communicated from the local knitting circle - there’s also some nice visual humour involving a desert rose and the most ridiculous doggy paddle you’ve probably seen for some time. Most important is the female-centric nature of the story - it’s refreshing to see a gender-flipped tale of revenge that doesn’t feel as though it has to apologise for its female protagonist. With this and last year’s tender romance A Love Song, Dickey has shown she is more than capable of carrying a film, hopefully she will get handed a lot more of them going forward.Reviewed on: 14 Nov 2023