Tammy’s Always Dying
Felicity Huffman, Anastasia Phillips, Clark Johnson
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…a punchy, gritty experience that will poke and grab at your emotions in surprising and meaningful ways.
Felicity Huffman is an actress that has always deserved better. Though by far the most naturally gifted of the cast of the hit TV series Desperate Housewives, she reaped the least rewards, while her bravura Oscar nominated performance in the superb drama Transamerica failed to turn up any roles of equal import. Most recently, of course, she’s been getting the wrong kind of attention after serving eleven days in prison due to her involvement in the notorious college admissions scandal. Some small measure of uplift comes with the pithy new comedy drama Tammy’s Always Dying, in which Huffman does some of her best on-screen work ever. The second feature from Canadian/American actress (best known as The Pink Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) turned filmmaker Amy Jo Johnson, it’s custom built for Huffman’s earthy, anti-star stylings, and the actress nails it from start to finish.
Huffman is Tammy MacDonald, a drunken, sloppy mess who regularly winds up teetering on the edge of the same bridge in her small Canadian hometown, apparently contemplating suicide, but largely crying – making that screaming – for help and attention from her long-suffering daughter, Catherine (the magnificent Anastasia Phillips, who would’ve been an indie queen if she’d been coming up in the nineties, like Jennifer Jason Leigh and Lili Taylor). But when Tammy is diagnosed with cancer, Catherine realises that her complicated relationship with her mother is even more complicated than she thought.
Boasting a wintry, bleak aesthetic mainlined straight from the seventies, and a cast of wonderfully real and imaginatively odd characters (one-time Homicide: Life On The Street star Clark Johnson really sings as the friend and owner of the most horrible on-screen watering hole seen since Barfly where Catherine works), Tammy’s Always Dying is a bruising, biting and often very funny take on the oft maligned mother/daughter movie, set in a tough, hardscrabble working class milieu not often depicted on screen. There’s no mawkishness here, with the debut feature script from talent-to-watch Joanne Sarazen happily free of manipulation and grandstanding. Coupled with the straight-from-the-battered-heart performances of Huffman and Phillips, it makes Tammy’s Always Dying a punchy, gritty experience that will poke and grab at your emotions in surprising and meaningful ways.
Tammy’s Always Dying will be available to stream from May 21 – June 3, exclusively through Classic, Lido, Cameo and Ritz Cinemas’ On Demand Streaming Service for $14.99. Click here to watch.