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Film / Mandy's Grandmother

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Mandy's Grandmother is a 1978 short film (30 minutes) directed by Andrew Sugerman.

Mandy is a girl of about ten who lives in a farmhouse in the country with her mom, dad, and annoying little brother Paulie. The family is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Mandy's maternal grandmother (Maureen O'Sullivan), who lives in England and rarely visits. Mandy is a little bit nervous about Grandma's visit, going so far as checking about a kid's book about children and grandmas from the library.

Grandma arrives and proves to be a prim and proper lady with a vaguely English accent said to be caused by living there for a long time (in Real Life, Maureen O'Sullivan was Irish). Mandy, who is a tomboy who likes toads and cowboy boots, at first feels distant from the prim old lady who brings her a frilly dress. But soon enough, they bond.

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Forty-odd years before this short film, Maureen O'Sullivan was playing Jane in the Tarzan franchise.


Tropes:

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Mandy's preschooler brother Paulie, who throws shoes into Mandy's room and intrudes into the fort she's constructed.
  • Clucking Funny: An entire sequence involves Mandy and Grandma chasing down the chickens that have escaped from the coop. Grandma eventually has to dive to tackle the last chicken, getting mud all over her fancy suit.
  • Down on the Farm: Mandy's family lives in a rural farmhouse. They keep chickens and have a stable where Mandy has a horse. There is a little culture shock here as Grandma wishes she had brought more sensible shoes for the visit.
  • No Name Given: Grandma is never named.
  • Tomboy: Mandy dislikes dresses and doesn't have any dolls. She wants cowboy boots. She has a slingshot in her room, and she keeps a pet toad named Wart. When she first meets Grandma, while wearing her pigtails up under her hat, Grandma says "Who is this little fellow?"
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  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: An intergenerational example. Mandy hates dresses, wears hats, doesn't play with dolls, keeps a pet toad. Her prim grandma wears shoes with heels, brings her a frilly dress as a present, is surprised when Mandy says she doesn't have any dolls, and is supremely grossed out by the aforementioned toad. But eventually, after Grandma tells stories about Mandy's mom and expresses her barely concealed loneliness, they bond, working together to knit a saddle for Mandy's horse. Grandma still won't touch the toad, however, saying "Friends don't have to share everything."
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