I fail to see the argument in the various poor reviews here. So, as a disclaimer, if you do not like foreign films, subtitles, and moving, thoughtful works that do not feature action, love scenes, or well-known actors, then do not bother to watch this film. Please.
This Russian film stars 73 year old Galina Vishenevskaya, a famous opera singer, as the title character. Made in 2007, during the Second Chechen War, waged by the Russian government, against separatists in the Caucasus. Aleksandra is missing her grandson, Dennis, who is an army officer, serving on a remote base in this bleak, war-torn country. She resolves to visit him, despite her age and infirmities, and the logistical difficulties of travelling to a war zone. Taking the arduous train journey, she finally arrives, hot and dusty, at Dennis's camp. He makes her as comfortable as possible, given the basic amenities, and shows her around proudly, letting her sit in his armoured vehicle, and meeting the men of his unit, mostly young, and all homesick. When he has to go on a mission, she is able to wander around freely, and visits the nearby Chechen town, to buy goods for the young men not allowed to leave the base. She views both sides of this conflict, and worries for her grandson, who she may never see again. This is an understated performance, but one of great depth. Her skill, is in showing that she could be anyone and everyone's concerned grandmother, and it is this that is the glue that holds the whole film together.