Netflix are really leaving a mark on the industry at the moment. There was a time when you would be able to run out of content to peruse and watch. Those days seem so far away. My latest watch was Tallulah which the platform have labelled with their “Netflix Originals” sticker.
When it comes to film and TV I am uptight when it comes to storytelling. I like a legitimate story and feel there is no excuse for a substandard one when so much money is splashed on a production. When I read that the director is Sian Heder and that she was one of the writers for Orange Is The New Black I felt much relieved before pressing play. That show does not shy away from creating credible stories. If you look back through her filmography this is her first full-length film with the others classed as shorts so undoubtedly there is pressure to direct and produce something adequate enough to view.
My suspicions that this was going to be a good story was wrong. It was more than good. As soon as I entered the first scene with Tallulah (Ellen Page) and her boyfriend Nico I knew it in was superb hands for the rest of the feature. A minority of films provide this feeling “that everything is going to be okay ” so naturally as you can immediately envisage the care that has been put into the characters and dialogue.
The dialogue between Tallulah and Margo bring to surface many stories and provides a theory behind their quickening relationship.
The premise of the story revolves around a free-spirited woman called Tallulah who somehow, due to a range of different events ends up rescuing (or deemed kidnapping) a baby from an irresponsible mother to which she immediately connects with and pretends she is the parent. Due to desperation and needing a place to stay, she latches on to her ex-boyfriend’s mother by convincing that the baby is her granddaughter. IMDB describes the film as “Desperate to be rid of her toddler, a dissatisfied Beverly Hills housewife hires a stranger to babysit and ends up getting much more than she bargained for” which I would argue is the incorrect viewpoint of describing this film.
The two performances between Tallulah and the ex’s mother (Allison Janney) is a joy to watch. Both characters, who seem to be lost in their lives provide such a truthful performance that it translates on-screen and this results in a powerful story about two women trying to find themselves. Ellen Page persuades you of this character which seemingly sees life in a different scope where living on the road on limited means is the way of life; where having zero responsibilities and nothing to be committed too is the attitude to have. The impression she flakes off is one that does not care about money, the prodigious cities and the life of a “9 to 5” job. Naturally, as a viewer, you are immediately fixated on her relationship with the baby. How can a character with such lack of care and responsibility manage to look after something so young? You can make your own conclusions but Tallulah will influence many thoughts and emotions about the state of play with the kidnapping. Ellen Page has to be applauded here for producing such a realistic and honest performance. As for character Margo you are essentially witnessing a failed mother dealing with a broken marriage who ironically writes books about the theory of married life. Allison Janney provides a character to the audience who needs to allow herself to be set free. Free from the marriage that holds her back and but at the same time being the mother she ought to be. The dialogue between Tallulah and Margo bring to surface many stories and provides a theory behind their quickening relationship.
In a nutshell, this story shows the pain of taking responsibility and also breaking free of any demons that are held between two very interesting characters. The film articulates care in such a way that you honestly sympathise all the way through. The dialogue feels so natural that you are in essence convinced you are watching a conversation that is not on your screen. The film provides moments of happiness and acute moments of pain but all in all provides a principle at both ends of the spectrum; taking responsibility and breaking free.
Conclusion: a film that allows you to care.
Director – Sian Heder
Ellen Page as Tallulah
Allison Janney as Margo
4.6 stars out of 5 stars
By Dan Hart
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