Tallulah (2016)

Director: Sian Heder
Writer: Sian Heder
Cast: Elliot Page, Allison Janney, Tammy Blanchard, Evan Jonigkeit, Felix Solis, David Zayas, Uzo Aduba, John Benjamin Hickey, Zachary Quinto
Seen on: 10.1.2021

Tallulah (Elliot Page) has been driving around the country with her boyfriend Nico (Evan Jonigkeit) for a couple of years, stealing and grifting to get by. After a disagreement, Tallulah tells Nico to just fuck off – and he does. Desperate to find him again, she drives to New York where she knows his mother Margo (Allison Janney) lives in a fancy apartment complex in the middle of Manhattan. But Margo hasn’t seen Nico and is not interested in Tallulah’s story. Tallulah heads to a hotel, hoping to find some food and maybe more, in the room-service leftovers. Instead she gets mistaken as a hotel employee by Carolyn (Tammy Blanchard) who ropes her in to babysit her toddler. Carolyn is a mess and when she comes back drunk, Tallulah grabs the baby and just leaves. Her spur of the moment decision has big consequences for all of them.

Tallulah is a well-made, perfectly cast film that tells an interesting story in an affective way. I really loved it.

The film poster showing Tallulah (Elliot Page) cradling a toddler and talking to Margo (Allison Janney). They are placed inside the shape of Carolyn (Tammy Blanchard) smoking a cigarette.

I must admit that I knew very little about the film, other than Elliot Page and Allison Janney were in it and it was directed by a woman. So, the part were Tallulah straight-up kidnaps a baby came as a surprise to me. I expected a slightly different movie, but what I got was much better.

This is a film about three very different women who all struggle with their place in the world. Margo can’t accept that her husband left her, and for a man no less – it calls into question her entire worldview and career. Carolyn finds herself trapped by motherhood, not able to reconcile this with how she mastered life so far: by being attractive, sexy, desirable and wrapping men around her little finger. And Tallulah is so busy running away that even the mere suggestion of getting close to someone who might have roots somewhere sends her spinning. Watching all three of them grow through each other was beautiful to see.

Tallulah (Elliot Page) cradling a toddler

Especially since the cast is so fantastic. Page and Janney have wonderful chemistry with each other and really bring out what’s best in each other. The film focuses on them, but Blanchard’s Carolyn is a scene-stealer if ever I saw one. I was really blown away by her performance.

Herder’s direction gives their characters space to grow and finds a great balance between the drama and the comedy of the situation (although it is weighted towards the drama, at least a little). And she manages to find the perfect ending for all of them, I thought. I was really taken in by the film.

Margo (Allison Jannes) and Tallulah (Elliot Page) sitting in Tallulah's van.

Summarizing: great.

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