One of our favorite duos Allison Janney and Elliot Page (The former Ellen Page) star in 2016 Drama Tallulah. Janney’s character Margo Mooney is an author of marriage-help books and tries to portray herself to be the ultimate master of a nuclear family structure. Although, from the first point she was introduced in the movie, it is clear to see that she is afraid of being alone. Margo lives by controlling what she can around her. Tallulah surprises Margo at her apartment when she claims to be her son Nico’s girlfriend. Margo is outwardly dismissive of Tallulah and her doorman offers to kick out the young hippie-like homeless girl on her next attempt to enter the building. But, par Margot’s request, Tallulah is given permission to enter her building and even her apartment to enlighten Margot in new ways of thinking.
I believe that Janney’s character, Margo Mooney, has both obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder. The way that Margo goes about her day-to-day life reflects a person that doesn’t want to socialize with other people. However, she gravitates toward the people that show any interest in her and becomes upset with them when they don’t meet her own standards.
Margo finds it difficult to live with another person and a baby in her apartment. She is bothered by Tallulah watching her cook dinner. Margo asks her to stop staring at her and claims that she doesn’t normally cook “in front of an audience.” Margo also becomes disturbed when Tallulah decides to stand outside of her van near Margo’s apartment and sell lemonade. Fearing that the neighbors will judge her.
Tallulah wakes up that night and attempts to make a run for it and steal some money, leaving the baby with Margo. Tallulah decides that she can’t leave, instead she falls asleep in the back of her van. Margo brings the baby outside on her hip and wakes up who she believes to be, her sons girlfriend. Margo brushes the incident off and discusses ways in which Tallulah could figure out how to become a better parent. Continuing to aid Tallulah in the care of the child. Showing that she’d rather believe Tallulah and have someone around than to question her about her motives and risk finding reasons to dislike her.
Tallulah lays out old newspapers and asks Margo to help her with repainting her ex-husbands paintings. This is interesting in itself because the way Margo views it is that Tallulah made a mess in her apartment, but the fears that she shares are just as interesting. Margo talks to Tallulah about some crazy things she did when she was younger. Tallulah tells Margo that her son would benefit from hearing the story. Margo becomes visibly upset when she finds out that he had described her as a “tight ass” and worries that was the reason he left.
The doorman Manuel, Felix Solis, has a clear attraction to Margo from the start of the movie. While her feelings towards him are a mystery. Later on in the movie she invites him up to her apartment for a glass of wine. Manuel is thrilled by her offer. After politely declining any wine, Manuel tries to kiss Margo. She pushes him off and instead kicks him out. Though Margo was prepared for that type of initiation, her desire to have control over other people and lack of self worth prevented her from kissing Manuel back. She still maintains an intense need to please people in other instances. The morning before going to her book signing, she puts on mascara in front of a mirror. She handles the mascara in a funny way, implying that she hasn’t worn makeup in awhile. Margo also asks Tallulah if she looks pretty before entering her ex-husbands apartment.
Near the end, Margo gains up enough courage to tell her ex-husband off. It’s intention comes from within her and she yells at Mr. Mooney for walking out on her and abandoning the family. But Tallulah helped in the preparation. Although Margo didn’t warm up to Tallulah instantly, they formed a bond fairly quickly. Tallulah challenged both Margo’s kindness and views on the world. Margo was put in situations that would be considered uncomfortable by her standards. Tallulah forced a dormant motherly side out of Margo. She even got Margo to admit that she hated the paintings that hung on her own walls.
The ending made it unclear what exactly happened to the two leading ladies. However, Margo remained in the same big apartment that she started out in and she kept the same obsessive tendencies. Just as significant, she finally seemed to be happy on her own.