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At the grand age of eighty-seven, a spry Dame Thora Hird plays an eccentric old lady hanging on to independence despite a series of strokes and her growing certainty that gremlins are invading her house. Pete Postlethwaite (Brassed Off) is her understanding son, a morose writer who has his own share of troubles. With a mixture of grace and black comedy, Hird and Postlethwaite portray a devoted relationship in the process of winding down toward life's inevitable end. "Do you want to be buried, Mum, or cremated?" he asks at one point. "Oh, I don't know, love," she says. "Surprise me."

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