Tallulah: Babies Raising Babies

After losing by her boyfriend, Tallulah’s (Ellen Page) impulsivity carries her into difficult circumstances with a kidnapped baby and would-be mother-in-law (Allison Janney).

Written and directed by Sian Heder, Tallulah premiered at Sundance Film Festival – a fact which is evident upon viewing, as it has that distinctive indie darling vibe that is prominent in Sundance’s movies, some of the all-time highlights including Little Miss Sunshine, Juno and Like Crazy.

Tallulah feels very female, which is certainly refreshing. As it is from the perspective of Lu, as well as being directed and written by a woman, it feels familiar in terms of its depiction of a distinctly female experience. Still all too scarce in the sea of male perspectives in film.

Tallulah is a total demonstration of the recesses of human emotion, and where the darkness can take us when we are alone. It is incredibly insightful and introduces us to Lu immediately with her flaws and insecurities. Every action, however detrimental, is understandable for us as the audience, because it is informed by our knowledge of the characters. And at times, Lu is infuriating – a trait held by almost every other character in the film – but we are forced to look, and to understand how and why characters have found themselves in these terrible situations.

The highlights of this film are the tremendous performances. Ellen Page as Lu is only amplified by Allison Janney as Margo. Also demonstrated in the few scenes they shared together in Juno, they have tremendous chemistry, that is based on obvious mutual trust and respect. I truly hope they make more content together. Tammy Blanchard and Uzo Aduba are also remarkable, especially in their scenes together.

Tallulahisreallyastoryaboutmotherhood, anexperiencethatLufirstdismissesandcomes to understand. But as she begins to know what it is to both be a mother and to have one, Lu adapts and can’t let go of what she has found.

At the heart of this movie is a true manifestation of what love does to a person, and what happens when that love is taken away. Tallulah is certainly not a feel-good, easy watch. But it’s messages about love and love lost hits hard and true, showing us the nature of what it is to love, especially as only a mother can.


This review was featured in SWINE Magazine’s November 2016 issue.

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Ella is a film critic currently working and studying in Melbourne, Australia.

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