The last time Ellen Page and Allison Janney shared the (figurative) stage, it was in Juno: Page was the pregnant teen and Janney the surprisingly supporting stepmom. Now they’re reteamed in similarly maternal roles. Page plays a young drifter who kidnaps a baby, and Janney is the duped divorcee who believes herself to be a Grandma.

This is not a perfect movie by any means and yet you’re going to spend the next 4 minutes reading about its virtues. Why? Because this movie was written and directed by a woman Tallulah_Unit_00820R-1000x562(Sian Heder) and features three of the most complexly-written and -rendered female characters you’re going to see on the big (well small – it’s on Netflix) screen this year.

Although the movie goes through the obligatory police-crime drama, its focus is really on these 3 women and their relationship to the world. Tallulah and Margo in particular yearn to feel connected, to feel necessary to someone, but are terrified of what that means. To love so enormously is also to risk loss. Wanting to be needed can lead to feeling disposable. Carolyn, on the other hand (Tammy Blanchard), is the dismayed if distracted mother now missing one baby. Although her young child needs her very much, she neglects her in order to get those same feelings from a man. She ends up utterly alone – blamed, shamed, and full of regret.

The movie shifts tone rather abruptly – one minute Page and Janney are trading stiletto-sharp barbs, the next they’re unloading some Louis Vuitton-worthy emotional baggage. Page is a petite powerhouse and Janney an exceptionally talented opponent and the film is never better than when the two are struggling to find a path between their fierce independence and the need to show someone else their pain. Theirs is about as fucked up as a mother-daughter dynamic can get, but they come from such a real and honest place6840c860-4efc-11e6-86d5-59965f7b75f9_20160721_Tallulah_Dead you can’t help but be drawn in. I am so proud to tell you about a movie in which women are taking care of themselves, and taking care of each other, and finding strength, not weakness, in accepting help from others. It’s heartening, just fucking inspiring, to see women taking this leap on behalf of all of us: reach out. Connect. It’s scary and risky and worth it.




Editor’s note: this post was not intended as an endorsement of kidnapping. Back away from the baby.


21 thoughts on “Tallulah

  1. jwgoodman

    I just watched it. You’re right. Page’s character is so raw and primal that you’re immediately interested in her every thought, which makes it kind of a bummer at the end, when we see Janney’s character in the final image instead of her’s. Still, it’s an incredible film. Love that Ted Lucas song playing during the end credits too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brittani

    I really liked this movie, the acting was amazing and the story felt very rich. It’s nice when you have all these unlikable characters but you still want to see them on screen, versus wishing they’d get off it.


    1. Jay Post author

      Haha, it’s true…even as Lu grows on you, you can never quite forgive her. And yet she’s compelling, probably because she’s so raw that you can’t look away.


  3. J.

    Excellent. Added this to my Netflix list (along with Ghostheads!) and reckon it looks like a goody. Netflix are treating us fairly well, it seems!


    1. Jay Post author

      They’re starting to step up their movie department. Their TV shows have been consisently better than their movies but it’s moving in the right direction!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Courtney Small

    I enjoyed this film for the most part, but I found Page’s Tallulah to be the least interesting of the three. I was really taken by the work of Blanchard and Janney though.

    I know many are comparing the film to Juno, but it reminded me of Six Degrees of Separation.


  5. ruth

    My friend went to see this at Sundance and she loved it! I think this is on Netflix here in the US so I’ll definitely check it out, Jay. I do like Allison Janney!


  6. reocochran

    I like Ellen Page and really enjoy Allison Janney, ever since West Wing. She is such a natural actress, funny but her facial expressions seem appropriate in most situations. She doesn’t just recite lines. . . I will have to hope it is picked up on a rental movie, either library or Redbox. I am so stretched in my budget, no Netflix. Thanks for the interesting review, both pros and cons, Jay. Enjoy your weekend! šŸ™‚


  7. Pingback: Canada 150 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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