Tallulah (2016)

"Yet another Netflix original with a great cast to lure you into watching it" was my first thought we Tallulah's popped up on my homepage. I do love Ellen Page and Allison Janney too much though so I couldn't just ignore it. And I'm glad I didn't because this is one of those small gems more people need to watch.

A real-life experience of director Sian Heder herself — she was once asked to look after a toddler with a trainwreck of a parent while working as a hotel babysitter and she was tempted to rescue the child but eventually turned it into a short film, Mother, which then became a feature film, Tallulah —, the story follows Tallulah (Ellen Page), a homeless young woman. When her boyfriend, Nico (Evan Jonigkeit) leaves her and takes all their money, she seeks help from Nico's mother, Margo (Allison Janney). But when Margo doesn't want anything to do with her, she goes to a hotel for food and money and gets hired by a rich, partying, neglectful mother, Carolyn (Tammy Blanchard), to look after her toddler. Reluctant at first, Tallulah accepts the job but, when Carolyn returns home wasted, she decides to take the baby and return to Margo for help. 

The story isn't anything new and it's not particularly interesting at the beginning — it's rather boring, actually, and I almost stopped watching because of it — but as soon as it gets going, when Tallulah kidnaps the baby, the story turns out to be quite compelling and involving. 

Tallulah, however, wouldn't work as good as it does if it wasn't for its characters. Although each one of them is something we have seen before, the three central characters — Tallulah, Margo, and Carolyn — are complex and developed. But most of all, we are given a protagonist who isn't particularly likeable nor sympathetic and yet we cannot help but care about her as she, Tallulah, is a complicated, lost young woman who, as we find out later on, has been abandoned for her entire life which resulted in her not trusting others, and sees in her action the only way to give that baby a better life than she had, even if that means hiding and running. Tallulah has been through so much we sure cannot blame her for the irresponsible way she acts. Margo is a sad, angry, bitter woman who can't let go of her past relationship — which ended with her husband cheating on her with another man — and is horrible to most people in her life, specifically to her soon-to-be ex-husband (John Benjamin Hickey). Carolyn is an unworthy, neglectful mother as well as a tremendously flawed woman and yet, she grows so much throughout the film and shows so much heart we cannot help but sympathize towards her. 

The performances are top-notch. Ellen Page is terrific as the titular role as she gives an intense, emotional performance. Allison Janney gives yet another powerful performance, and the chemistry she shares with Page is so natural it gives the film a genuine touch. Tammy Blanchard too gives a great performance as the unfit mother. And Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black's Crazy Eyes, steals the show every time she is on screen.

Ultimately, just like its characters, Tallulah is a flawed and yet compelling film that will make you both laugh and cry, and that deals with themes of maternity, personal responsibility and family is a sensible and touching way.


  1. I love both actors so this is something I would like to see

    1. Please do watch it. It’s such a good film and the cast is terrific!