This bittersweet comedy is, among many other things, a tour de force for the marvelous Anne Bancroft. The star is cast as Estelle Rolfe, an unconventional divorcee who resides in New York, in close proximity to her grown son Gilbert (Ron Silver) and his wife Lisa (Carrie Fisher). Though his wife yearns to move back to her home state of California, Gilbert cannot quite cut the silver cord that binds him to his mother. Upon learning that Estelle is dying, her dutiful son offers to honor her last request to meet the reclusive actress Greta Garbo. The rest of the film plays wonderful variations on this theme, involving such peripheral characters as a gay Garbo fan (Harvey Fierstein), an elderly Shakespearean actress (Hermione Gingold), a "female Joe Papp" director (Denny Dillon), and an ageing papparazzi (Howard Da Silva). Without giving away the ending, it is worth noting that the divine Garbo shows up in the person of playwright/lyricist/ performer Betty Comden.
by Hal Erickson synopsis