Movie review: Thelma

families are complicated

My wife and I saw the new movie Thelma at the Spectrum  8 Theatre in Albany on a Thursday afternoon. This is the first starring role for nonagenarian Jane Squibb, who I first remember seeing in the 2013 film Nebraska, for which she was rightly nominated for an Oscar.

The story was written by director Josh Margolin, who based the story on his own mother, also named Thelma. IRL, some folks tried to scam Margolin’s mom with a fake call from her “grandson” who was in “trouble,” but she didn’t fall for it.

The cinematic Thelma adores her 24-year-old grandson Daniel (Fred Hechinger), and the feeling is mutual, as he gives her help with her computer, and she offers him confidence. A phony telephone ploy takes her in. Once she realizes that Daniel is all right, she plans to get her money back.

This is complicated by Daniel’s parents, Thelma’s daughter Gail (Parker Posey), and Alan (Clark Gregg, who you may recognize from oodles of Marvel movies). They believe the older woman is experiencing cognitive decline since being widowed a couple of years earlier and may need to move into assisted living.

Our protagonist is having none of this. She borrows a vehicle from her old friend Ben (the late Richard Roundtree), who somewhat reluctantly comes along for the adventure.


There were only ten people in the theater, none of them under 50, I surmise. There were laugh-out-loud segments, and not just by my measure.  One particular action cliche is particularly funny.

A lot of truth is here about listening to what older people say, especially about their own lives. Daniel’s parents learn things about their son’s skill set.

Josh Margolis has already won some minor awards, including at the Desertscape International Film Festival, where he was the 2024 festival award winner for Best Action Movie. Seriously.

Professional reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes were 99% positive. Kylie Bolter of the Chicago notes: “This action-comedy leaves room for plenty of nuance about aging and autonomy.” The audience score was 83% positive, with the most common complaint being that it was “boring.” No. Just no.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial