Ellen Page and director
Sian Heder’s Sundance
weekend kicked off on Friday afternoon with joint visits to
Photo Studio, the Acura Studio,
The Hollywood Reporter's
Studio at Rock & Reilly's and
Interview Studio at the Sundance Indiegogo Lounge for some press appointments, interviews and portrait sessions.
This gave them both the chance to speak about the challenges in making the movie, things that happened while filming and the lack of diversity in Hollywood that was highlighted by the recent Oscar nominations. Between feedings of Cheerios on the set of
, Ellen spontaneously penned a new song to pacify her co-star: a fifteen-month-old baby. "I am a horse, riding on a turtle," she told
. "Of course I made it up — that was all me! ... You had no choice but to be in the present moment, because you could never anticipate what your little friend's going to do." Heder, in turn, shared that her feature directorial debut was inspired by her time working as a Los Angeles nanny for mothers who "I felt like should've never been mothers — one in particular who had never been alone with her toddler. ... I really considered stealing her baby and didn’t, but wrote a movie about it instead." In regard to the need for diverse voices in the entertainment industry the Canadian actress told Sharon Waxman, founder and CEO of
: "It's awful and I think what just happened in regards to the nominations two years in a row is a reflection of the industry itself, and the lack of diversity in all positions. It's so upsetting that we're still having this conversation. I don't know what to say other than it's so disheartening, and I feel like we all have to be doing what we can to make a change, because we're supposed to be telling stories that reflect human experience, and we can't just be showing one group of people."
Afterwards, the duo stopped by
Photo and Video Suite at The Samsung Studio to talk about
in a panel discussion more than 30 minutes long , which was streamed live on
. Ellen also got interviewed by Michael Benjamin Latt for one of
On Saturday, the rest of the team, including actress
John Benjamin Hickey
arrived in Park City, Utah where they all attended the world premiere of their film held at the Eccles Theatre at noon. Our festival scout Marcela was, of course, once again on the scene and took the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with Page. Only one person was missing: artist
. She stayed at home in Los Angeles because she needed to work as Ellen revealed in talks with Marc Malkin from
. Instead, actress
, who was at the festival with her own movie
, accompanied her Canadian friend and showed some support. But the absence of her girlfriend didn't prevent Ellen from enjoying the event and having fun on the red carpet, where she got a lift from Heder and Janney which provided some funny photos.
Gallery update: 2016 Sundance Film Festival - »Tallulah« World Premiere
Gallery update: 2016 Sundance Film Festival - »Tallulah« World Premiere (Social Media)
Following a grateful round of applause and the mandatory Q&A session after the screening (which you can watch below, courtesy of
) as well as a hilarious backstage photo session, the crew was off to a cocktail after-party at Wasatch Brew Pub. There, in a relaxed atmosphere, Ellen reflected on her role in
during a conversation with
: "Lu is one of the most fascinating characters I'd ever come across. I felt immediately emotionally connected to her. What I found fascinating was how she navigated the world. So much had to do with a lot of her struggle in the past." No stranger to
, the actress acknowledged she got her big break in Hollywood thanks to the festival: "Sundance is a huge part in why I'm getting to act now.
was here when I was 17 and that's what allowed me to launch into lots of different things." Furthermore, she mentioned an upcoming project that she is producing with
and apparently goes under the working title »Mercy« as we have learned earlier: "It's a love story between Kate and myself. Hopefully we'll be shooting that this summer."
The next day, the main cast headed for the Eddie Bauer Adventure House at Village at The Lift,
The IMDb Studio
Shutterstock Studio as well as the portait studios of the
Los Angeles Times
for some further interviews and photo sessions.
and Ellen also visited
#Movie3Some room to play the "Whisper Game" with the hosts Tiffany Smith and Kristian Harloff before eventually flying back to Los Angeles in the afternoon.
Judging by the Twitter reactions following the world premiere screening and the mostly rapturous response by the press with Page and Janney's chemistry and performance being praised in particular,
and the whole
crew did a great job. With this in mind, there is no doubt that the comic drama will find its audience when it becomes available on
and is theatrically released in the USA by
a yet unnamed partner
later this year!
We have already summarized some of the tweets and press reviews for you after the jump!
»Tallulah« - Press Reviews
"Tallulah admirably challenges received wisdom about maternal feelings. It also takes gutsy risks with potentially dislikable main characters, all of whom are women, played with bravura skill by the three leads. There's so much to root for here it’s painful to concede there's some hideously on-the-nose, spell-out-the-motivation-in-capital-letters writing that lowers the tone. However, that obviousness won’t hurt its crossover potential one jot, and for a low-budget indie debut, this has bags of Juno-style commercial potential." [...] Page and Janney have a pleasant, relaxed rapport with each other and are likeable enough presences to hang out with, but a lot of the business around their characters feels like padding to keep the two highest-profile actors busy"
— Leslie Felperin,
The Hollywood Reporter
"Ellen Page lands her best starring vehicle since "Juno" in "Tallulah", a very different story of a young woman coming to terms with the idea of being a mother. The feature-length scripting-directing debut of "Orange Is the New Black" staff writer Sian Heder offers juicy roles not only to Page but also to Allison Janney and Tammy Blanchard, in a strong showcase of female talent both behind and in front of the camera. [...] Page is simply superb in a complex role that perfectly plays to her gift for balancing deadpan comedy with surprisingly deep emotional reserves."
— Geoff Berkshire, Associate Editor,
"It takes a village to raise a child, especially in Tallulah, an often funny and moving drama about two disparate characters: a drifter who ends up becoming the unlikely caretaker of a one-year-old child; and the middle-aged soon-to-be-divorcée she tricks into thinking is its grandmother. In her first feature, writer-director Siân Heder sometimes overdoes the gentle dramatic ironies and cutesy, feel-good tone, but Tallulah has much to say about the ways that society judges women: as mothers, as wives, as lovers. Helped enormously by deeply-felt performances from Ellen Page and Allison Janney, this film mostly overcomes its unevenness by finding rich pockets of emotion and insight."
— Tim Grierson, Senior US Critic,
"Comic drama "Tallulah" offers robust starring roles for Ellen Page and Allison Janney, reuniting for a far less quirky, but well-made follow-up to "Juno". Heder oversees the production with a sure sense of guidance, and provides a framework for Page, Janney, and the rest of the cast to do excellent work. [...] Heder's direction shines, shaping the film around the cast as each woman plays out their own specific nuances of loss and insecurity, and, occasionally, optimism. "Tallulah" is an impressive feature debut, and a welcome showcase for the talents of Page, Janney, and Blanchard."
[B+] — Russ Fischer,
"The plot of Tallulah gets a bit unwieldy as it unfolds. But the film features such fine performances from Allison Janney, Ellen Page, and a stunning Tammy Blanchard that any narrative messiness is easily excused. Heder has written three complex, richly realized characters for her lead actresses, who create a compelling and poignant triptych of women tangled, thwarted, and ultimately uplifted by the bonds and responsibilities of family and motherhood."
— Richard Lawson,
"Writer-director Sian 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."
(3.5 ouf 4) — Sean P. Means,
The Salt Lake Tribune
"The story has the makings of a Lifetime movie; what grounds it are the terrific performances and Heder's rich direction and screenplay. [...] As Tallulah’s odd couple, Page and Janney have a strong rapport that softens as the women come to understand one another. Page is such an appealing presence that she makes Page's self-destructive tendencies easy to stomach. Janney, playing a woman unsure of how she managed to lose both of the men in her life, lends a defeated quality to Margo that is heart-rending. Together, they make a sad sort of magic."
(4 out of 5) — Nigel M Smith,
"The main problem with the movie is that Tallulah, who is meant to be roguishly charming, is instead irritating — a lying, thieving, tiresome, unwashed hippie moocher even before she turns kidnapper. [...] The movie is interminable — scene after scene after scene returns to check in on the Blanchard character’s screamy drunken hysteria — and yet leaves a subplot hanging and ends without much resolution, instead opting for a second iteration of a hokey fantasy scene."
— Kyle Smith,
New York Post
"Page and Janney display a considerable amount of chemistry, not to mention a decent amount of laughs mostly derived from the battle between Lu’s blunt honesty and Margot’s tense, socially-aware pretensions." [...] When forced to come to a conclusion, the film’s plotting falters thanks to overly convenient timing and a complete transformation into thriller mode. There’s honesty here and a swath of well-written, well-developed female characters, but not enough to justify laughing with a kidnapper."
[C] — Dan Mecca,
The Film Stage
"Tallulah is a funny and poignant look at how complicated motherhood and family can be [...] This directorial debut from Sian Heder was originally based on Heder’s 2006 short Mother. As her debut, it’s a solid effort. Sometimes its imagery and themes get a little heavy-handed, particularly when it comes to a gravity-defying scene at the end that is equal parts cheesy and cringe worthy way. Still, it’s sweet to see how Lu, Margo, and baby Maddy/Maggie help each other open up, even if it does so in a predictable, albeit engaging way."
[B+] — Katie Anaya,
College Movie Review
"Tallulah and Margo wonder about gravity, and if it weren't there would they let themselves float away or hold on for dear life. Then, of course, we get a lame fantasy sequence in which that actually happens because the film's message, such as it is, really needs to be made as obvious as possible. Page and Janney deserve better than what Tallulah ultimately gives them to work with. While there are no easy answers when it comes to parenting, and this film doesn't offer any, Tallulah doesn't bother asking believable questions, either."
— Travis Hopson,
"The casting of Janney and Page can be a tiny bit loaded, considering that the two were so strong in previous Ellen Page pregnancy hit, "Juno." [...] Individually, they have great moments too—Janney has a truly emotional bit with a turtle, and throughout, Page captures a restless sense of having no one and nothing. [...] In its greatest success, it is able to translate—or feels like it, at least to this reviewer—the incomparable, intangible stresses of sacrifice within motherhood through filmmaking."
— Nick Allen,
"The story leans on the side of incredulousness and there are a few moments that seemed a little too overly convenient for me, but all of that can be forgiven because Page and Janney are absolutely amazing in this film. [...] Tallulah is that kind of rare film: a straightforward dramatic storyline with the well-placed laughs that also unexpectedly gets under your skin. Because you can’t help but wonder: would you take someone else’s baby if you thought you could do better?"
[A-] — Siân Melton,
"Ellen Page and Allison Janney trade insults and life advice in Sian Heder's solid feature debut, which trades in sharp humour and dreamy imagery [...] Heder neatly plays up the two women's differences, and the best scenes see Page and Janney rubbing each other up the wrong way. Nicely observed and with some great performances, it's already got distribution, so you won't have to wait long to see it."
— Josh Winning,
"An unflinching look at motherhood and personal responsibility, Heder’s picture presents us with no clear villains or heroes, but instead gives us an utterly captivating, morally ambiguous story. By allowing us to see the shades of grey inherent in the human experience, Heder elicits our empathy and compassion for all her characters, as they, as we so often do, struggle to do what they feel is right."
[An absolute must-see] — Carrie Kahn,
"Page's feral performance as a dumpster-diving loudmouth anchors Sian Heder's pragmatic comedy about women trying, and failing, to be maternal."
— Amy Nicholson,
"Ellen Page at her most Ellen Page, and it is glorious. The last movie that was this level of Ellen Page was Juno [...] The movie is about motherhood, doing the right thing, what it means to be a good person, deceit, and responsibility. All in all, it was just super good with really strong performances and an amazing first directorial turn from Sian Heder. And it’s not just Page and Janney who really sell the movie. The story of the mother whose child is stolen is also fascinating as performed by Tammy Blanchard, filled with a complexity that really elevates the movie into something special. It’s these three riveting and complex female performances really make it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellen Page has another Oscar nomination next year, that’s how strong this movie is."
(4 out of 4) — Josh Greenberg,
Josh The Blog
"The beauty of Tallulah is that it doesn’t oversimplify women’s reasoning. It sadly stalls dramatically by reiterating the same meanings and actions, but acknowledges that women torn are in varied directions as caregivers, partners, and with their careers. [...] Ellen Page’s reliably witty deliveries are pleasing, and there’s no doubt that she effortlessly emotes Lu’s aimless disposition. [...] Heder’s storytelling comes from a refined perspective that views women as many things and knows that the wills of others disrupt even the best laid plans. All three women exist as islands, overly protective of themselves because of the mental gamut they’ve been put through by others. Tallulah’s plot meanders a bit too much, but makes honorable and equitable statements on how women strive to make their way forward despite their failures and the inadequacy of others."
— Lane Scarberry,
Scott Mantz @MovieMantz "TALLULAH: @EllenPage & #AllisonJaney are superb! A deeply engaging drama! #TammyBlanchard is magnificent! #Sundance"
Tomris Laffly @TomiLaffly "Really liked #Tallulah. Rich story of women from different walks of life intersecting unexpectedly. Could use a trim, but honest throughout."
Shawn Ashmore Forev @4244ef71ca6043d "@EllenPage i saw you in Tallulah!!! What a stunning performances!!! I suggest everyone to grab a dvd if it will come out! Soon!! I love it"
Sharon Nehls @bldrfilmgrl "#Tallulah-morally ambiguous tale of 3 women disconnected from family seeking meaning in their lives-spot on casting! #Sundance
Amirose Eisenbach @Amirosie "Tallulah: electrifying performances from Page and Janney. Plot was pretty weak & convoluted but they have never been better #Sundance"
Marci_Dukes @MarciDukes "Btw. @TallulahMovie was spectacular! @sianheder !!!!!!! Excellent job! #Sundance2016 #Tallulah #Vote!"
Trevor K. @trevorck "May have see the best performance of the festival in #Tallulah #tammyblanchard @EllenPage @sundancefest
Liz Bird @MzLizBird "Tallulah is a triumph! Great direction, acting & wonderful script! #Sundance2016"
Russ Fischer @russfischer  "TALLULAH: Well-executed, with many contrivances in the script. Who cares, tho, when Allison Janney & Ellen Page are so great together. [...] Also, Tammy Blanchard really goes all-out in TALLULAH, and has a terrific scene with Janney."
Sean P. Means @moviecricket "Top-flight acting by Ellen Page and Allison Janney propel Sian Heder's mommy drama "Tallulah." @sundancefest"
MCR @mcr_michealene "#Sundance 2016_ Tallulah- a poignant movie about the shades of grey in being a mother. Blown away still"
Hollywood Elsewhere @wellshwood   "Tallulah is one of the most unusual, emotionally complex but affecting woman-centric films I've seen in a long while. Reaches in, touches. [...] "Tallulah" may well result in acting awards for Ellen Page, Allison Janney. I never thought a drama about child kidnapping would get me. [...] Shan Heder's "Tallulah" is aces -- the first high-quality, blue-chip drama to play Sundance '16. I resisted at first, but it won me over."
Sam Adams @SamuelAAdams "Tallulah: Never really sells its premise, but lots of great detail in exploring the anxieties of being a mother, or having one. #Sundance"
Miranda Bailey @mirandambailey "Just saw the remarkable @EllenPage in Tallullah. I LOVED the movie!Excellent writing, acting, directing- & more proof women filmmakers rock!"
Jason Bailey @jasondashbailey "TALLULAH: It's a mess and it's kind of great. Inconsistent tone, impossible plotting, but undeniably moving and sensitively acted. #Sundance"
Kate Hagen @thathagengrrl "Tallulah: really solid work from Janney + Page as always, but mostly just fine, very abrupt ending."
Jonathan Lisecki @jonnynyc "#Tallulah is absolutely wonderful. Incredible performances, fantastic direction, excellent script, great baby, etc. Congrats @sianheder!"
Kate Branch @katembranch "Tallulah is a fantastic debut from @sianheder who was 6 months pregnant w a 16-month-old at the time of filming! Hell yeah! @glamourmag"
jen yamato @jenyamato "TALLULAH has the most Sundance indie plot, but Ellen Page & Allison Janney make magic onscreen. Lot of sniffles around me at the end."
Jordan Zakarin @jordanzakarin "Really liked 'Tallulah,' which features some of Ellen Page's best, most nuances work (and Allison Janney's usual excellence). #Sundance"
Kate Aurthur @KateAurthur  "Lovely relationship between @ellenpage's and Allison Janney's characters in (toddler kidnapping!) movie #Tallulah. #Sundance2016 [...] Also strong Tammy Blanchard as the awful, sad, complex mom. The plot spins out, but #Tallulah is likable for its performances. #Sundance2016"
Jeff Goldsmith @yogoldsmith  "Tallulah @sundancefest was hatched from such deeply melodramatic roots that neither the performers or ultimately the film could ever escape. [...] Earnest performances in Tallulah couldn't save some of the script's cookie-cutter characters & set ups - which dragged its good parts down."
Terrell Garrett @TerrellTGarrett "#TALLULAH has received the most applause out of the movies I've seen so far. So good. #Sundance2016"
Erin Whitney @CinemaBite "Can Ellen Page & Allison Janney reunite more often? They absolutely shine in Tallulah, touching debut from #OITNB's Sian Heder. #Sundance"
Alex Billington @firstshowing "Tallulah - Fine film, with some very conflicting emotions. Hated the ending. Ellen Page is fierce, strong performance that will stand out."