Soliloquy: Am I the only person who never takes a film at face value? I often search for the hidden meaning or the purpose of such a piece being invented. If that’s not the case, then the actual art of the film (scenery, camera angles, lighting, etc.) carries my mind through a creative adventure. This message will continue for the “Netflix & ……..” Series.
After a long week, I decided to treat myself over the weekend with a “Jail Broken Fire Stick and Chill” marathon. I indulged myself in fantastic independent films, such as Tallulah, a quirky drama featuring an excellent heavy hitting female cast (Ellen Page, Allison Janney, and Tammy Blanchard). It is also the directorial debut of Sian Heder, an Orange is the New Black staff writer.
The narrator is Tallulah herself, a nomadic young lady who is hired (as a total stranger off the street, literally, after being mistaken as a hotel maid) to babysit an inebriated Beverly Hills housewife’s toddle, Madison.
As the film begins, we witness Tallulah and her boyfriend Nico struggling to survive their vagabond lifestyles. Eventually the two have a dispute due to Nico desiring more stability, which does not include stolen credit cards, living out of a van, and prowling through garbage for meals. The next morning Tallulah awakes with no Nico, as a train passes ahead indicating how he departed. Heatbroken, Tallulah recalls Nico’s wish to visit his mother in New York City. Without hesitation, she starts her van to search for Margo (Nico’s Mother).
Once arrived in New York City Tallulah finds Margo’s place of residence. Unsurprisingly, Margo states that she has not seen Nico in two years and asks Tallulah to leave.
With nowhere to go and an empty stomach, Tallulah, finds her way to a nearby hotel. There she discovers discarded room service thrown away by hotel guest. When she reaches for the refuse, the door suddenly opens. Standing there is Carolyn, the heavily intoxicated and uninterested mother of Madison. Two year old Madison is seen in the distance, naked and playing with dangerous objects.
Mistaking Tallulah as a maid for the hotel, Carolyn begs Tallulah to babysit Madison so she go on a date (with someone other than her husband). Originally hesitant, Tallulah finally agrees when Carolyn offers her a nice amount of money and explains to her that “she is rich and can afford her at any cost”.
Later that night, Tallulah takes a warm bath (she frequently bathed at gas stations while living in the van) and ponders the neglect Madison has faced. Unable to continue the trend she begins to grow a bond with Madison. She bathes the child and puts her to rest once done. A few hours later, Carolyn stumbles into the luxurious hotel looking distraught. Through her drunken tears, the audience learns the male she went on a date with rejected her sexually crushing her pride.
The sight of Carolyn in such a state disturbed Tallulah, prompting her and Madison to sleep in her van located outside the hotel. The thought of leaving Madison with her mother was overbearing. When the two, Madison and Tallulah, woke in the morning they quickly returned back to the hotel only to see the police force waiting in the lobby.
When humans encounter stressful circumstances they respond with either “fight or flight”, well in this instance Tallulah chose “flight”. What starts off as a peculiar task, quickly accelerates into a “kidnapping” when the mother awakens from her drunken stew unable to recall where her daughter is. In fear, Tallulah, goes back to Margo’s (Nico’s Mother) home to claim that Madison is indeed her granddaughter and they need somewhere to stay. Suspicious at first, Margo finally agrees.
The bond that the three begin to develop is one of beauty. Margo teaches Tallulah how to be a mother to Madison, while also showing Tallulah the affection of a mother that she never had. In return, Tallulah helps Margo get over her ex-husband cheating, then marrying his male lover. As a pair, both Tallulah and Margo, nurture Madison likes shes never been nurtured before.
It is simply amazing how two total strangers can connect so deeply so quickly. Have you ever met someone new and thought to yourself “Wow, this person knows me better than a longtime friend”, it is sort of similar to this situation.
Human bonding is a mutual development characterized by emotions, trust, and affection. It often involves feeling a sense of attachment with a person. This is visible as the suspense of the film comes to head.
Eventually Nico enters New York City to find his mother, Margo. Upon his arrival Margo then learns that Madison is not her grandchild. Soon after, Tallulah’s face is spotted on the front page of the New York Times, labeled as an abductor. Ultimately, Tallulah wanted to leave Madison with Nico at a local hospital, but decided she would not run from her mistakes this time and heads back to comfort Madison.
The film ends with a resistant Tallulah, returning Madison to her mother (surrounded by police) who appeared to have found her motherly instincts that she once openly rejected. Tallulah is arrested but smiles when officers ask if she was trying to save Madison. Margo agrees to help Tallulah as best as she can, and is seen in the final scene reaching for the trees symbolizing the release of old burdens.
Though Tallulah appears to be a drama it has quite a few quirky moments guaranteed to make you laugh.