This “Raging Granny” Crashed a Wall Street Dinner to Demand Answers

“Two Raging Grannies” is a beautifully shot film that juxtaposes a journey into activism with a profound meditation on aging.

Photo from Two Raging Grannies.

Two Raging Grannies is, in fact, a bit of a misnomer. The two grandmothers in the film, Hinda and Shirley, are more concerned than angry, and more curious than anything else. Even at the film’s climax, where Shirley storms the podium at a “Wall Street Dinner” event, she simply wants to ask a question about the economy: “Why do we have to keep growing?”

This is the central dilemma that the grandmothers tackle: In a world of finite resources, how can we live within an economy that must constantly expand? Their mobility-scooter-powered journey leads them from homeless communities to big box stores to an economics classroom (from which they are ejected for asking too many questions), and eventually to New York City and Wall Street.

At the movie’s opening, Hinda and Shirley are doing little more than pondering. By its end, they are wielding megaphones and handing out fliers on the campus of the University of Washington.

There’s a moral here, certainly, but Two Raging Grannies is more than just social commentary. The slow, beautifully shot film juxtaposes the women’s journey into activism with a profound meditation on aging. The most affecting moments occur when Hinda and Shirley are discussing not the implications of a constantly expanding economy, but rather the daily trials and tribulations of getting old. “I think the main things I go to socially now are memorials,” Shirley mentions wryly at one point. It’s a poignant juxtaposition—a societal and economic system of constant evolution and growth, as viewed by those left in its wake.

Such heavy themes could make for a somber film, but Two Raging Grannies remains enjoyable, thanks largely to the chemistry between Hinda and Shirley. Their conversations are funny and relatable, their friendship heartwarming without being saccharine.

At the movie’s opening, Hinda and Shirley are doing little more than pondering.

Adding to Hinda and Shirley’s charm is their almost childlike manner. After being kicked out of the economics class, the two women pose their question to a UW student. “I keep hearing about ‘we have to grow the economy,’” Shirley asks, frowning up from her scooter. “But why is [that]?”

At one point in the film, the grandmothers visit Albert Bartlett, a retired professor of physics who has been lecturing on the impossibility of endless economic growth since 1969.

“We’re just actually beginning to think about this situation,” admits Hinda.

“Better late than never,” Bartlett reassures them.