Tallulah (2016, written and directed by Sian Heder)
[No. 35 of 52 in #52FilmsByWomen]
Ellen Page and Allison Janney, who once played mother and daughter in Juno, are reunited as two completely different characters in this movie. This time, they bring their amazing chemistry to an entertaining drama with many compelling characters.
Ellen Page plays Lu, or Tallulah,a drifter who lives out of a van and scavenges or steals whatever she can find to survive. She impulsively takes a baby from a drunken socialite and seeks out her boyfriend’s mother Margo (Janney) and they both take care of the baby together.
While the plot is sounds like the basic odd-couple-character-takes-care-of-baby on its surface, the story is populated by interesting characters that we could emphatise with. Page’s streetwise urchin is especially so as she does whatever she can to survive, while making stupid decisions along the way. Margo is almost the complete opposite, as the writer who’s going through a divorce and struggling to keep her life together.
It comes as no surprise as the two characters bond and learn from each other throughout the movie, but it is the scenes and dialogue that would glue our eyes on the screen. Both of them have their own philosophies of life, and it is great to see how these inform their actions and decisions.
Through these characters, the movie explores the truths and difficulties about having people to trust and depend on you. From the helpless baby Lu ‘rescues’ from a dangerously incompetent mother, to Lu herself relying on Margo for shelter, and Margo being abandoned by her husband and son. There’s also an explicit symbolism where Lu had a dream where she just floats away into the sky while she grabs on to anything to stay grounded.
Even the side characters, such as Manny the doorman, and the police detective are fun to watch. Even though they’re not as fleshed out as Lu and Margo, the respective actor’s performances make them very interesting and likeable. Even the baby’s mother; she’s shown as a shallow and inept woman, but eventually we feel sorry for for what she’s going through.
It was a nice and charming movie with great characters. It’s on Netflix, so, not a bad way to spend a weekend afternoon.