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U.S. Dramatic Competition
Three mothers one temporary, one irresponsible, one remorseful collide in "Tallulah," a poignant drama propelled by top-flight performances. Tallulah, or Lu (Ellen Page), lives out of her van, grifting and stealing with her boyfriend Nico (Evan Jonigkeit). When Nico abandons her, Lu goes looking for him in New York, visiting Nico's mom Margo (Allison Janney), who hasn't heard from her son in two years. Lu then goes scrounging in a Manhattan hotel, and ends up hired as a nanny for Madison, the ignored toddler of Carolyn (Tammy Blanchard), a wealthy boozer who's less concerned with her child than with her burgeoning extramarital affair. Lu decides to take Madison out of the hotel and to Margo, telling her that Madison is Lu and Nico's child. Writer-director Siân Heder's sharp, observant script introduces three wholly original female characters, all grappling in different ways with the constraints of motherhood. Those characters are well served by Page, Janney and Blanchard, who find depths of emotion in what otherwise could have been thin stereotypes. The emotional triple-punch they deliver is genuine and gut-wrenching.
Sean P. Means
"Tallulah" screens again in the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Sunday, 6 p.m., Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room; Monday, 3:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema 1, Park City; Thursday, 6 p.m., Temple Theatre, Park City; Friday, 3 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City; Saturday, Jan. 30, 3:15 p.m., The Grand Theatre, Salt Lake City.