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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Tallulah (2016)

A homeless vagrant (Ellen Page) who lives by scamming and stealing and eating out of dumpsters is mistaken for a hotel maid by a rich, lonely and alcoholic woman (Tammy Blanchard) who is hiding out from her husband. She asks the vagabond to watch her baby girl while she goes out to meet a man. Appalled at what an unfit mother the woman is, the vagrant absconds with the baby. A woman (Allison Janney) whose husband (John Benjamin Hickey) dumps her for a man (Zachary Quinto) is finding it difficult to adjust to unmarried life. These two stories will merge. Every once in awhile, you come across some small indie movie that slips under the radar and find a little jewel. TALLULAH is such a movie. Frankly, I'd never heard of it until a screener showed up in my mail. It's a rich, complex and beautifully acted film with three strong female performances. It's a difficult movie to adjust to because while we're appalled by the kidnapping of a baby from its mother, the mother is unfit and a danger to the child. So do we root for the kidnapper who's crossed the line? Do we want the poor child returned to the mother from Hell? And what about the innocent woman placed in the crossfire of this mess? In the end, the film tells the story but doesn't give us any answers, it's up to our own moral judgment and the film leaves the questions of what happens to these characters unanswered. These aren't cardboard cutouts and we end up feeling empathy for both the kidnapper and the unfit mother. Directed by Sian Heder. With Uzo Aduba and Evan Jonigkeit.

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