Julia Louis-Dreyfus Talks To Death In Odd, Heartbreaking Meditation On Grief


  • Tuesday brings a unique perspective on grief through a fantastical lens, highlighting the acceptance of death in a moving and emotional journey.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus shines in her role as a grieving mother, showcasing deep emotional depth and significant dramatic skill.
  • While Tuesday may not appeal to everyone due to its idiosyncratic nature and 111-minute runtime, those who connect with it will find a powerful cinematic experience.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Tuesday is a far cry from the everyday grievances of Elaine Benes in Seinfeld, as she portrays an in-denial mother confronting the impending death of her teenage daughter. An odd tale from writer and director Daina O. Pusić, Tuesday is a deep meditation on grief where death comes to visit in the form of a size-altering macaw bird that may not appeal to everyone. But for those it connects with, it will be a powerful cinematic experience. It’s a deeply symbolic and, at times, flawed film, but Tuesday is filled with love, heartache, and pain.

Tuesday takes a unique approach to its meditation on tragedy as we first see this imposing bird appear to various people, hearing their dying thoughts and fears, flapping its wings before their faces, and turning out the lights forever. By the time this otherworldly creature reaches the teenager named Tuesday (Lola Petticrew), we’re well aware of what’s supposed to occur, and the young girl seems fearful but oddly accepting. As she makes the bird laugh, bathes it, and asks for some time to see her mother, the bird concedes and appears impressed by this dying girl’s incredible fortitude.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Brings Emotional Depth To Her Role In Tuesday

This strange story is a heartfelt reflection on life, love, and death

Speaking about Tuesday in terms of its plot structure or story beats would be a disservice, as this film firmly rests on the effective performances of Petticrew and Louis-Dreyfus, who bring pathos and humanity to their roles. As the wheelchair-bound Tuesday slowly succumbs to her illness under the care of her nurse, Billy (Leah Harvey), her mother, Zora, tries in vain to raise money for her care, leading to the upstairs of their home being stripped bare. But the inevitable comes to the fore when Death incarnate arrives and cannot be ignored anymore.

This development is Tuesday at its most effective, as it gives a resonating account of the denial of grief, with Zora attempting to thwart the bird in a desperate plea to give her daughter more time.

While this sounds like a recipe for a grim and depressing movie, Tuesday is also full of heart and humor, shown through Tuesday’s stoic acceptance of the bird and through the mother-daughter bonding that later occurs. When Tuesday tells her mother that she will soon die, Zora’s first instinct is anger, but once Death is revealed to her, it seems she has no choice but to accept it. However, this is not what Zora does, as she proceeds to burn and attempt to kill the bird before doing something even more shocking with it instead.

This development is Tuesday at its most effective, as it gives a resonating account of the denial of grief, with Zora attempting to thwart the bird in a desperate plea to give her daughter more time. This is a mother’s love at its strongest. Zora wishes to destroy anything that can hurt her daughter, while the act just forces her to carry out the duties of Death herself. This sends the pair on a moving and emotional journey that brings the family members closer together as they inch ever closer to the end of their time together in this world.

The Fantasy Of Tuesday Highlights The Realism Of Its Emotions

Julia Louis-Dreyfus powerfully captured the heartache of a grieving mother

The process of saying goodbye to a beloved family member feels otherworldly, especially when a mother is forced to confront the unnatural dynamics of her child’s death. By leaning into fantasy elements, Tuesday feels all the more real as it accepts the absurd aspects of grieving, bidding farewell, allowing Death to do its duty, and the mourning process. There’s deep pain in Louis-Dreyfus’ eyes throughout, and she makes us feel for this mother who tries to do what she can for a daughter reaching the end of her existence.

Tuesday is a slow burn that overstays its 111-minute runtime, but in watching it, nobody can deny Louis-Dreyfus’ significant skill as a dramatic performer. She has an ability to capture so much emotion with so few words. This highly ambitious film mostly succeeds in its attempt to showcase acceptance, death, and grief in a new light but sometimes feels overloaded by its own thematic aspirations. A co-production between A24, the BFI, and BBC Film, Tuesday will mean the world to those who connect with it, although its idiosyncratic nature can be too much for those who don’t.

Tuesday 2023 Movie Poster

Tuesday is a fantasy drama film by writer-director Daina O. Pusic, which initially premiered in 2023. Zora, while caring for her terminally ill daughter, Tuesday, is visited by Death – in the form of a parrot that can change its size. To help Zora cope with what’s to come, Death takes her on an emotional journey to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of life.


  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus gives a deeply emotional performance
  • Tuesday is great at capturing the nuance of the grieving process

  • The film can be odd in its fantasy depiction, and won’t be for everyone
  • The story overstays its welcome at 111 minutes long

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