Gasping for Air: Our Review of ‘Tuesday’

Posted in Theatrical by - June 14, 2024
Gasping for Air: Our Review of ‘Tuesday’

The titular character in Daina Oniunas–Pusić’s Tuesday (Lola Petticrew) is a terminally ill girl who is thinking about ending things. Death (Arinzé Kene’s voice) comes in the form of a parrot, and characters have their own ways of bargaining. Tuesday gives Death a bath while the former’s mother Zora (Julia Louis Dreyfus) decides to eat the shapeshifting bird. Leave it to a white woman to do something rash which eventually disrupts death and its worldwide ecosystem. This strange entry into an already strange fantasy genre has Tuesday trying to figure out how to make everything normal. The film asks whether or not Zora taking over Death’s role is a permanent one and how it affects Tuesday.

Death tells Zora that the latter has to say goodbye, doing so in that booming, convincing voice, but Zora is a tougher nut to crack, and of course her fight with Death makes the film longer. At the risk of sounding like an undergrad, Zora’s actions reflect cinema as an artform that prolongs. In fairness to the film, it does have characters that are fascinating to viewers, worthy of a longer look. The film’s trailer also makes Zora seem more sympathetic than her first impression but the film shows her motivations. Tuesday shows the reluctance of a mother to spend time with a daughter who can die at any time.

Tuesday has a lot of basic lines but this dialogue also strikes at universal experiences that people will have. Everyone lives long enough to either lose a friend or a family member, for those people to pass away. We all live and move on despite of our losses but that initial severing act has that primal pang. Doing her part, Julia Louis Dreyfus doesn’t have to emote much while saying her lines or speak any words. But she can subtly convey not wanting to lose Tuesday, looking at a world that has what she doesn’t. If anything, she conveys that slow pain that comes with her character’s decisions to do anything but say goodbye.

Tuesday throws enough curveballs that may make viewers think that the inevitable isn’t that, that Zora might win. One last thing about the film that wins me over is its fantasy side, especially in how it depicts Death. Through the film, we jump through hurdles, suspending our disbelief about Death looking like a blue eyed parrot. This transfiguration doesn’t make sense but also does, especially when Zora eats him and temporarily takes his job. A concept like this, sure, deserves a scope outside of minor characters talking about the consequences of what Zora did. But I do like the idea of a cool parrot being the last thing I see before the void.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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