We gave it a B
Jessica Tandy’s first undertaking since winning an Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy is this agreeable bit of treacle about an elderly woman who becomes an unlikely media hero as host of a cable-TV show. Out of the boredom of retirement, Tandy’s character approaches a New York public-access channel about reading stories on the air; dubbed ”The Story Lady,” she becomes an underground hit among Manhattan moppets whose yuppie parents never took the time to read them ”Rapunzel.” One such guilty yup, played by Stephanie Zimbalist, watches the Story Lady one day and sees a network star in the making. Zimbalist uses her media pull as an ad agency executive to give Tandy’s character wider exposure as ”Granny Goodheart,” a slicker, soulless version of the Story Lady.
The lesson here, boys and girls, is that media self-consciousness is very, very bad. Lessons aside, though, The Story Lady is a satisfying piece of work because writer Bob Zeschin makes his unlikely premise seem perfectly plausible, and Tandy really does have a wonderful, lulling way of reading fairy tales aloud. B