Starring: Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Tammy Blanchard, Felix Solis, David Zayas
Directed by: Sian Heder
Written by: Sian Heder
Rating: R Running Time: 1 hr.51 min
It took a few minutes, but I finally nailed down what was bugging me about, Tallulah—it never feels authentic. It’s a story that plays a little too movie reel than real, and presents an easily avoidable situation as a catalyst for everything that happens after the first act. This requires the viewer to suspend disbelief for way too long as the justifications for certain characters’ actions are distant cousins to the events they inspire. The time between effect and cause is too great, so we’re left alone with a very unlikable titular character for way too long. A more sympathetic viewer might be able to forgive and forget, but I found myself unable to do that.
Another thing hurting the film’s authenticity is the locations and photography, and Tallulah falls into a common trap (very common in movies set on Manhattan Island) of making everyone’s living quarters look extremely, nice. Each location may technically fit the characters’ economic standing in the world, but did they have to be so slick and cleanly lit? These places after all are supposed to be extensions of the people living in them, and not something you’d expect to see in a lifestyle magazine. Even Tallulah’s (Ellen Page) van seemed like a cool place to spend the night.
Ellen Page and Allison Janney are extremely talented actors, and they do well with the material given to them. The script eventually gets around to building characters with depth, but on too many occasions I found dialogue got predictably morose or poetic in order elicit a suitably polar opposite response to deliver the ‘point’ of the story. The film also tries to inject some dreamy more fantastical elements into the proceedings, but doesn’t do enough of them to present a theme so they seem out-of-place. They are also a little too on-the-nose as depictions of the two main characters’ growth in the story.
Expect a slow and well-acted drama. Understand that the titular character’s actions will eventually make sense, and be patient. Tallulah is not rated as of this post, but I’d expect it would receive an R for language and one brief scene containing nudity.
The performances from Ellen Page and Allison Janney are worth watching.