Movie Review: ‘Tuesday’

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Movie Reviews, Movies | 0 comments

Greetings again from the darkness. I thought the same thing. How can a movie featuring a giant talking macaw make any dramatic sense, or deliver a message that’s worth hearing? Well, the first feature film from writer-director Daina Oniunas-Pusic does just that. We know the best fantasy stories and fables are based on harsh realities, and there is no reality more harsh than the fact that death comes for all of us. Now, whether death comes by the Grim Reaper, an Angel of Death, or a talking, size-shifting red macaw may be up for debate, but filmmaker Pusic and the cast deliver an immensely creative and thought-provoking look at death and all stages of grief.

The film opens by taking us on the daily routine of the Death Macaw as it visits those who have reached the end … whether they are ready or not. Some go peacefully, others not so much. Soon it visits Tuesday (played by Lola Petticrew, SHE SAID, 2022). Tuesday has a terminal illness and is wheelchair-bound and tethered to an oxygen tank. She knows it’s her time, but negotiates with the bird so she has a chance to tell her mother goodbye. A brilliant combination of humor-kindness-sarcasm-pot-music (Ice Cube)-and bathtime cause the death bird to give in and grant Tuesday’s wish. Of course, such a decision means death is taking a break, thereby wreaking havoc around the globe.

Mother Zora (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Seinfeld”, “Veep”, 11 Emmys and counting) returns home and reacts quite aggressively … actually violently … to the bird that’s there to take her daughter. Zora may be keeping secrets from her daughter, but it’s with the best intentions to protect her. And protecting her is exactly what she thinks she’s doing when she goes to war with the macaw (brilliantly voiced by Arinze Kene). This mother is just not willing to let her beloved daughter go without a fight … a fight that shifts the tone of the movie, as well as mom’s place in it.

It seems negotiations are ongoing between the parties, even though we all know there is no cheating death – at least not in the long run (some runs are longer than others). Yet, most of us spend each day warding off the idea or simply assuming it’s not our time. We also know most parents will go to any length to protect their kids and ease any pain they might have. A significant portion of this story is about dealing with grief. Julia Louis-Dreyfus mostly replaces her usual goofy grin with a look of stress and anguish. Facing reality, she’s despondent right up until she is enlightened. The filmmaker inserts an insightful blip near the end about God/the afterlife, and the best message is that grief must be dealt with. At some point, we must ‘get on with it’ and understand that the legacy of loved ones is carried on in our memories. Daina Oniunas-Pusic shows us some real creativity on a familiar topic, and it’s pretty impressive.

Opens in theaters on June 14, 2024

David Ferguson
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