top of page

Tuesday (A Movie Review)

TUESDAY (2023)

Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lola Petticrew, Leah Harvey, Daina Oniunas-Pusić, Ellie James, Taru Devani, Jay Simpson, David Sibley, Nathan Amzi, Justin Edwards, Hugh Futcher, Nathan Ives-Moiba, Ewens Abid, Bijal Raj, Florencia Nunez and the voice of Arinzé Kene.

Screenplay by Daina O. Pusić.

Directed by Daina O. Pusić.

Distributed by A24. 111 minutes. Rated R.

Fair warning: If you have seen the coming attractions trailer for Tuesday, don’t expect that you know what is going to happen in the movie. In fact, the trailer shows just a part of the story – a middle-aged single mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is trying to come to terms with the inevitable death of her sick teenaged daughter (Lola Pettigrew). Just as much is hidden from the viewers.

Specifically, Tuesday is not exactly a heartfelt melodrama about impending death, but it has a much more specific dark fairy-tale quality to it. And, honestly, I’m not sure that the film would not have been better had it just been played straight. At the very least, it would have probably been more affecting, because the fantasy aspects of the film tend to dilute the tragedy of the situation.

However, that is not what Tuesday is, so we have to grade it on the scale that it is made. And in many ways, it is very good, well-acted (Louis-Dreyfus in particular shines in this dark, non-comic role), imaginative and bracingly surreal. If in the end it doesn’t quite work, at least it is taking some serious chances here.

The title is not a day of the week, but the name of the terminally ill 15-year-old daughter of an American woman living in the UK. Tuesday has somewhat come to terms with her illness, but mother Zora is in complete denial, refusing to believe – or even really deal with – the finality of her daughter’s illness.

This illness comes to be symbolized by a giant Minah bird (actually it can change its size at will). The bird is essentially the grim reaper, it appears to people on the verge of death and makes their passing easier. We are shown the bird’s duties even before we meet Tuesday and Zora, as the bird goes across the British countryside and helps people to enter the light. Needless to say, despite the fact that he is doing a kindness for the people, they don’t tend to see it that way.

Therefore, when the bird meets Tuesday, he is touched by the fact that she can make him laugh with a silly joke and also helps him to clean himself up. Because he likes her, he allows Tuesday a few extra hours of existence to say goodbye to her mother. However, Zora is determined to protect her daughter from the coming doom and attacks the bird of death, eventually seeming to kill it. (You wouldn’t think that death would be so easy to kill, and you’d probably be right.)

However, while the bird is gone, suddenly nothing and no one in their area can die. People, animals, and insects are all suffering, but they can’t cross over into the afterlife. Which brings up a conundrum for Zora – if the bird of death can somehow be revived, it will continue its mission of taking her daughter. So what is to be done?

Honestly, again, like I said, this story would have undoubtedly hit a lot harder had they not added the supernatural trappings to the story. But even as it is, Tuesday is an adventurous and sometimes fascinating film.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2024 All rights reserved. Posted: June 14, 2024.


bottom of page