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‘Thelma’ review: A tale as old as time told in a new (and old) way

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Richard Roundtree (left) and June Squibb in "Thelma."
Magnolia Pictures
Richard Roundtree (left) and June Squibb in "Thelma."

Every week, Kristopher Pollard from Milwaukee Film and Radio Milwaukee’s Dori Zori talk about movies — because that’s what you do when you’re Cinebuds.

The formula of the action-revenge film is well known at this point:

  1. Person has a nice life.
  2. Person is wronged.
  3. Person goes through an increasingly challenging set of obstacles to ultimately confront the big bad behind their wronging.
  4. Person either defeats or shows mercy on the big bad while learning that seeking revenge won’t fix you.

Recent release and Milwaukee Film Festival favorite Thelma follows this formula like many of its forebears — the John Wick and Mission: Impossible series most notably. But rather than placing an aging person at its center (sorry, Tom and Keanu, facts are facts), Thelma hits the fast-forward button and opts for an aged person: in this case, cinematic treasure June Squibb.

The 94-year-old actress plays the titular character under the direction of Josh Margolin, who based the story on something similar that happened to his grandmother (minus the revenge-seeking and action sequences). But we all know how “based on a true story” can go sideways, even if it’s very slowly and at the wheel of a mobility scooter.

Listen to the full episode to find out whether Dori and Kpolly were able to keep up with this fast-paced — relatively speaking — action film, and whether you should lace up a sensible pair of sneakers so you can race out to catch Thelma in cinemas.