Watch Peege

  • 1972
  • 28 min
  • 7.0  (137)

Peege is an American short film released in 1973, named after its titular character, and has since been acknowledged as a poignant and touching account of familial relationships and the enduring human spirit in the face of aging and deterioration. Directed by Randal Kleiser, who would later gain fame for directing the iconic musical 'Grease', Peege stands as an example of Kleiser's keen ability to craft emotionally-driven narratives.

The film stars Bruce Davison, a versatile actor known for his work in films such as "Willard" and "X-Men", as the character Gregg. Alongside him, Barbara Rush, a Golden Globe-winning actress with a prolific career spanning several decades, and Jeanette Nolan, who brings her extensive acting experience to the role of the grandmother, endearingly referred to as Peege.

Set against the backdrop of the Christmas holidays, Peege follows the story of an extended family as they come together for what has become a routine visit to a nursing home to see their elderly matriarch, who has lost much of her ability to communicate and interact with the world around her due to failing eyesight and other ailments associated with old age. The grandmother, Peege, is a once vibrant and loving figure who has become a quiet shell of her former self, and the nursing home environment serves as a tangible reminder of the isolation and neglect that can accompany the final chapters of life.

The family's visit is a chaotic one, with children running amuck and adults caught up in the superficial niceties of the occasion, all seemingly oblivious to the disconnect between their festive mood and Peege's distant demeanor. Only Gregg, the family's young adult grandson, seems to sense the poignancy of the moment, feeling an undercurrent of emotion and reminiscence as he interacts with his grandmother.

Through nuanced performances, the film explores the complexity of family dynamics, particularly the often-unspoken bonds that can exist between grandparents and grandchildren. Davison's character, Gregg, embodies a sensitivity and an earnestness that sets him apart from the rest of the family. His interactions with Peege are characterized by a genuine effort to connect with her, to reach past the barriers of age and infirmity, and to honor the woman she once was and the memories they share.

Rush's role as one of Peege's daughters highlights the responsibilities and emotional conflicts faced by middle-aged children as they grapple with the decline of their parents. Her struggle to balance the demands of her own life with the needs of her mother is a subtle thread throughout the film, providing a lens through which the audience can view the often-uncomfortable realities of aging and caregiving.

Jeanette Nolan, as Peege, delivers a powerful performance with very little dialogue, relying instead on expression and presence to convey the profound sense of isolation and resignation that accompanies her character's condition. Despite her limited screen time, Nolan's portrayal is both heartrending and dignified, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.

The cinematography of Peege effectively captures the starkness of the nursing home environment as well as the contrasting warmth of family interaction. It offers a visual narrative that complements the dialogue and character development, depicting the fine line between affection and pity, connection and obligation.

Peege is not just a film about the melancholic aspects of aging; it also serves to remind audiences of the inherent value and dignity of every life, regardless of the ravages of time. It touches on the universal themes of memory, love, and the importance of acknowledgment — that every person deserves to be seen and remembered for who they were and what they meant to their loved ones.

The film manages to be both a gentle and a jarring wake-up call to the sense of duty and compassion we owe to our elders, encouraging viewers to reflect on their relationships with their own grandparents, parents, or any aging relative. It emphasizes the idea that while the physical and mental faculties of a person may decline, the essence of who they are remains, deserving of our respect and understanding.

Beyond its immediate story, Peege also serves as a commentary on the broader societal issues regarding elder care and the dehumanizing aspects of institutionalization. It implicitly questions the viewer's perceptions of aging and challenges us to consider how we care for and connect with the most vulnerable members of our society.

Overall, Peege is an emotionally resonant work that delivers its narrative with simplicity and grace. What the film lacks in length, it more than makes up for in depth, providing a cinematic experience that is both touching and thought-provoking. Its legacy endures as a sensitive exploration of family, memory, and the passage of time.

Peege is a 1972 drama with a runtime of 28 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0.

Where to Watch Peege
Peege is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Peege for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (137)