Luck, in most definite terms, is the probability of an event in your favor. If an event happens, like the way you wished it, you are Lucky. Yet, there are so many variables which support this favorable probability and we often tend to ignore them, blinded by our own selfishness. Lucky Grandma is a tale which swirls around luck and ill-fate, that examines struggles of a certain class or a being in it, and why the efforts of some amount too much while the efforts of others amount to none. Thus, when luck doesn’t work on one’s side, is malpractice or shortcuts the only way through to fulfill our desires?
Lucky Grandma, a delightful debut feature of Sasie Sealy, presents a heroine, we are not accustomed with, that too in a crime genre. Grandma Wong (Tsai Chin), is an almost 80 year old widow who lives alone in an apartment in NYC Chinatown. She worked without break for the half of her life, and yet hasn’t gathered much financial means to even pay for apartment. Thus, she decides to take her fate quite literally into her own hands, and visits a Casino to check her luck.
The film begins with an excellently amusing shot of Grandma Wong blowing her cigarette sitting in front of a fortune teller where she is informed, “Your Lucky Day is Coming.” Thus she knows that her luck will shift for the better.
Grandma Wong who denies taking any money from her son, and refuses to go and stay with him, falls short of payment for the rent. When she is quite convinced about her luck, she travels to a casino town where Wong’s guiding star brings her brief string of victories. However, to selfishness, there is no end, and what comes easy, never stays long. Grandma Wong inevitably runs out of her luck and loses all the money she won that night.
Returning back to Chinatown, Grandma Wong gets hold of a bagful of money, which belongs to the man seated next to her in the sleep, sleeping sound and cold (yep, an heart attack). Grandma Wong brings back the money home, and her unlawful adventure begins, when the Chinese mafia shows up the next day at her place, asking for their money. Grandma Wong, who doesn’t want the money to flee away, takes action to protect it, as far as she can, while she finds herself in the midst of a Gang War.
While Asian Cinema sometimes turn out to be incredibly loud and Cheesy, yet the comic element in their acting, writing and treatment is inherently natural and not forced. It isn’t a comedy of punches but of expression and situations which really tickles you down.
In Lucky Grandma, a large credit for it goes to Tsai Chin’s excellent performance. Even in quietly tense moments, her inherent craftiness, makes us chuck and smile. If acting is in the attitude, expression and all those unsaid moments where without making an effort, an actor is able to initiate an emotion in the viewers, then Chin’s portrayal of Grandma Wong tick marks all the criteria. The tone of the whole film has an adorably gentle quality, and isn’t banked on cheap gags requiring a badass granny to fire guns. Her most lethal weapon is a kitchen frying pan, even when her intent is not necessarily to kill.
While the film embraces such cute, admiring and funny moments, the other memorable performance that elevates it, comes from Grandma’s purchase of a discounted bodyguard to protect her. Big Pong (Hsiao-Yuan Ha), from a rival gang elevates the comic element naturally without compelling it and his persona is adorable and desirable on screen. When Big Pong isn’t on screen after his introduction, every scene cries out for his presence, even if he just is there in the background.
Another notable funny scene is when Grandma’s Wong grandson and his friend, records a hilarious dance video on YouTube, one cannot miss the irony and amusement of the scene.
Though the story of Grandma Wong is pretty simple and straightforward, it emits a deeper meaning of luck, fate and cause-effect distribution of one’s labour. In the end, when Big Pong asks Grandma Wong why she took money that doesn’t belong to her, she says that she has worked hard all her life, and still is left with nothing in this old age, while the Gangs who never work hard as much as the normal worker, have filled their pockets with bills. These people can afford to lose money. But this deep conversation is very brief and only states Grandma’s Wong side of the story, while others remain unsaid or non-verbal throughout the film. A miss or not, this exchange neatly describes the character and demands an applause.
Lucky Grandma is a funny entertaining movie that runs for approximately 90 minutes making sure, it doesn’t let you down for even a second of it. It’s a must watch for those who want an easily consumable drama that leaves you with a message and something to think about.
Lucky Grandma is available on Video on Demand.
For more Quality Content, Do visit Digital Mafia Talkies.