Free-spirited Lu (Ellen Page) is looking for food and a place to stay when a dissatisfied housewife (Tammy Blanchard) mistakes her for hotel staff and asks her to babysit. Soon Lu has a toddler to look after and she goes to the only place she can think of, her boyfriend Nico’s (Evan Jonigkeit) mother Margo’s (Allison Janney) place.
Tallulah is a comedy drama that takes a stark look at motherhood. All three leads are well-rounded and flawed and bring a lot to what could be a made-for-TV-movie. Housewife Carolyn finds motherhood hard and is angry at all the other mothers she see’s finding looking after a child so easy. She doesn’t know how to cope and what could be an unsympathetic and horrible character is actually played as a struggling woman who doesn’t know what to do.
Margo is struggling with her divorce and tries to keep up appearances while Lu doesn’t want any responsibility at all and then a small child is literally thrust upon her. Lu is reckless and doesn’t even feel bad for taking another person’s child, but as the film progresses the script and performances show these aren’t just stereotypes. Each character has layers and they all feel let down by the men in their lives.
The relationship between Lu and Margo is unconventional, Lu is brash and swears and is nothing like Margo but somehow they connect. They both allow each other to open up and they stand up for each other too. Janney and Page’s chemistry is wonderful and both of their performances ground what could be an outlandish and overly dramatic story.
Tallulah is a lovely indie drama with brilliant performances, it’s well worth checking out on Netflix. 4/5.
Seventeen year old Bliss (Ellen Page) lives in a small town in Texas and isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. When she discovers a roller derby league she makes new friends and discovers something she could really love, even if her mother (Marcia Gay Harden) who loves entering her in pageants wouldn’t approve.
While Whip It might have many of the sports movie clichés, the underdog team, the misfits and the family not agreeing with the leads choice in sports, but Whip It has so much charm and great performances that it is so much better than the typical clichés.
The roller derby scenes are fun and exciting but the violence is never over the top. The atmosphere in those scenes are often electric and the commentator ‘Hot Tub’ Johnny Rocket (Jimmy Fallon) is equal parts funny and cringe-worthy.
The difficulties Bliss faces as she tries to juggle her new passion for roller derby, her family and her first love in musician Oliver (Landon Pigg) are very believable. She is a wonderful lead character and it’s though her eyes you see the warmth all these characters have for her and each other.
One of the most delightful things about Whip It is all the different relationships between the different women portrayed throughout the film. Bliss had a strained yet believable relationship with her mother, she and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) argue, and then there’s this incredible friendship and camaraderie between all the members of Hurl Scouts. Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig) is kind of like the mother of the team while Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore) and Rosa Sparks (Eve) are both a lot of fun.
Whip It is fun and full of awesome relationships between women and for me, it’s a new favourite film. 5/5.
The first film I saw Ellen Page in was X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and while I do not love that film even though I’m a huge X-Men fan I thought she made a great Kitty Pryde. Unfortunately the next film I saw her in was Juno (2007) and I didn’t really like it that much and that put me off Ellen for a while which was a shame.
But since then I’ve seen Inception (2010) and The East (2013) and loved both films and her performances in them. I still need to see Hard Candy (2005) as I’ve heard nothing but good things about that film – a friend of mine said it’s tough to watch but also great.
But Ellen Page isn’t just a pretty great actress but she’s also a pretty awesome person. Her speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s inaugural Time to Thrive Conference last year was incredible. She was so brave and you can see in how her voice shakes that she was nervous about it all. It’s great when young people can see someone who is like them in the spotlight.