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Tallulah (2016)

0:31 | Trailer
Desperate to be rid of her toddler, a dissatisfied Manhattan housewife hires a stranger to babysit and ends up getting much more than she bargained for.


Sian Heder


Sian Heder
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Ellen Page ... Tallulah
Allison Janney ... Margo
Tammy Blanchard ... Carolyn
Evan Jonigkeit ... Nico
Felix Solis ... Manuel
David Zayas ... Detective Richards
Uzo Aduba ... Detective Kinnie
Fredric Lehne ... Russell
Evangeline Ellis Evangeline Ellis ... Madison
Liliana Ellis ... Madison
John Benjamin Hickey ... Stephen
Zachary Quinto ... Andreas
Maddie Corman ... Vera
Eden Marryshow ... Officer Lacey
Oberon K.A. Adjepong ... Cab Driver


An intelligent but feral girl's boyfriend leaves unexpectedly causing her to search for him at his estranged mother's home. The two women begin to bond, finding supportive friendship in each other's troubled lives, changing their outlook forever. Written by Justin Goring

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Life can be a real mother


Comedy | Drama | Romance


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Did You Know?


This film is a feature-length evolution of Sian Heder's 2006 short, Mother (2006). In fact, the the script for Mother is re-used almost word-for-word in the sequence where Tallulah first encounters Madison and her mother in the hotel suite. See more »


When Lu is waiting for the train, we see a red light approaching, indicating a new train, but then the doors open and we see the orange seats of an old car. When the doors close again, we see the blue seats of a new train. See more »


Tallulah: Your Plan depended on other people. People suck, and they'll disappoint you every time.
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Follows Mother (2006) See more »


Guilty as Charged
Written by Andrew Balogh
Performed by Adryon Gross
Courtesy of CORD Worldwide
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User Reviews

Baby crimes and misdemeanors
10 August 2016 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

One nice thing up front: this movie gets how New York City works when it comes to giving tickets (though I don't know if it would've gotten a 'boot', more likely it would've been towed, but I digress).

Tallulah is a prototypical example of an independent film that features two very well known actors (at least to some, I'd think Ellen Page is and Allison Janey may be hit or miss for some, still, even after all these years), and *feels* like a first time Sundance-festival-bound indie film. But it's not necessarily a negative, or something to be wary of, in the case of this story. A lot of that does come down to the actors, and (mostly) realistic reactions to how the story goes into one 'oh s***' moment after another and, again, it comes down to the choices the characters make which can be desperate, foolish, but also for their own good in a way.

Tallulah is wandering from place to place being basically if Juno several years later was a hobo and lost a lot of the snappy dialog (Page in slightly similar attire, though grungier, more "street" to give it obnoxious quotes). Her man friend Nico runs off on her for some reason or another (he wants to go home to his mom, she doesn't want to do that, and during the night he splits - oh, and why he split in the first place is and isn't clear). So she finds his mother's apartment in New York city, she rejects him, and the she ambles about into the Waldwick hotel where she stumbles upon a drunken socialite-dilettante (Tammy Blanchard in a performance that may be overlooked but she gives this blonde dummie a lot more depth than you'd expect, some of that's in the writing). She has a baby, and Tallulah is tasked to take care of her while she's out for the day, thinking she's a housekeeper. Later this blonde lady stumbles drunk into bed, Tallulah feels wrong about leaving a crying baby all alone and kidnaps her.

Good premise and a strong beginning to a story that doesn't give us a protagonist who is necessarily 'likeable' or 'sympathetic' just because we're told to like her. She's complicated, she's lost, she explains later on in the story briefly and just enough so that her faults go back to a place of abandonment (she does turn to Nico's mother, Allison Janey, for help, and she reluctantly agrees making the spine of the movie). What I liked is that the story gives some things to explain motivations for stuff - why Janey's character Margo can't let go of her past relationship which ended in betrayal (oddly enough Janey once again being the 'beard' to a gay man in a marriage like on Masters of Sex) and why Tallulah can't stay still for very long - but the actors are given a lot of room to play with, to find the characters on screen so that we can also relate to them well enough. So when something "quirky" like Tallulah pulling down all of Margo's ex's paintings off the wall to 're-paint' at first seems to turn out badly and then becomes a bonding scene, it works because we can believe these people in it.

In other words, this is a movie that has some light crime-elements to it with the kidnapped baby, maybe in its way a hybrid of a New York intellectual comedy-drama and a slight, a little bit, of neo-noir, and it mostly works if you like Page and Janey (oh and some nice character people like Zachary Quinto as the 'new' guy for Margo's ex, David Zayas and Orange is the New Black's Aduba pop up and the latter even gets some good character motivation, nicely done writer-director Heder). It also has that, um, slightly odd touches that at first are acceptable and then pop up at the very end: floating in a dream can work once, but twice, I'm not so sure. And there are certain story contrivances that do come up, mostly in the last third or act or whatever, and it does make you realize this story's coming to a wrap-up in some ways that do and don't make sense.

But for all of these misgivings Tallulah does function as a quality dramatic film with a few light touches about what it means to have a lack of options or resolve, to really be caught up in existential dilemmas that matter, whether it's having a baby that's not yours to become close with or to let go of a marriage that didn't work when YOU are a writer about marriage (yeah, that's here as a thing). If you asked what I thought I'd say 'I liked it, it has heart, and... that's about it, and it's enough.'

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Release Date:

29 July 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tallulah See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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