At the end of this paragraph you’ll find a trailer for Tuesday, the debut film from writer-director Daina O. Pusić. It’s pretty good. It’s interesting and correctly conveys some very important things about this obviously emotional story. It shows star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the terrified mom of a terminal teenager who Death itself comes for her. Rather than appearing as the typical Grim Reaper, here Death is a talking bird who can change its size. And yet, despite not being misleading in anyway, this trailer is not really an accurate representation of the film. Tuesday is a moving and poignant story that is far more original, wonderfully weird, and absolutely captivating than it looks.

A24 describes its latest film as “a heart-rending fairy tale about the echoes of loss and finding resilience in the unexpected.” This comes a lot closer to capturing the essence of this film than its trailer, because it definitely has major elements of traditional fairy tales. Bizarre, dark, disturbing, and morbidly funny things happen without any sanitization. This film does not hold back its story from where it naturally wants to go. It’s refreshingly free to do its own thing. But it’s less about the “echoes of loss” and more about the actual process of dying, saying goodbye to those we love, and accepting that death is an unavoidable and necessary part of life.

That alone makes it stand out from the sea of modern stories that only want to focus on grief and loss after death. What really makes it stand out is everything else. Tuesday is really weird in ways it doesn’t even hint at until you’re watching it. So much so that I expect some viewers will either find it outright inaccessible or too strange to connect with. Others will also consider it too slow. I am none of those people. It’s definitely methodical, but also mesmerizing. And while its trailer makes it look like it might be maudlin, it’s anything but. Tuesday earns every emotion it pulls out of you.

A girl with a shaved head in a wheelchair opposite a giant bird in Tuesday

Some of those feelings are heartbreak, no doubt, but it’s also full of joy, wisdom, and even laughter. How and when it gets those laughs are one of its most impressive aspects. Tuesday manages to be funny even during scenes that don’t tonally feel like they should be. It’s really something to see. Somehow the movie blends disparate genres, styles, and tones so seamlessly it essentially exists as its own, totally unique movie. If you’re looking for something “different” or “new,” Pusić has delivered exactly that along with some really pleasing visuals, interesting points of view, and camera movements.

A big reason why Tuesday feels so different is her approach to Death, who is a otherworldly, pained, lonely figure tormented by his endless task and the voices he hears crying out for him. Voiced by Arinzé Kene, this winged creature is no mere harbinger or symbol. He’s a fully fleshed out, fascinating, wholly dynamic character who provides both gravitas and incredible comedy. (I won’t spoil any of his funniest moments, but if I did a lot of his moments would sound super silly out of context. In the movie, however, they all fit perfectly. Like I said, Tuesday hums along on its own wavelength to make something different yet beautiful.)


Dreyfus is also incredible as a mom unable to face her child’s impending death. Like the film itself, which feels real and authentic even when it gets really strange, Dreyfus’ Zora is honest and grounded no matter what she must do. And she does both a lot of bizarre stuff and also some very flawed, human things. She delivers a really moving performance that exceeds even the best expectations for someone so talented, because her job is much harder and nuanced than you expect.

The same is true for her fantastic young co-star, Lola Petticrew. Their Tuesday is fully realized and keeps the movie focused and centered. Tuesday’s maturity goes well beyond their years, yet the character is still very much a kid. They are the bedrock of the film and even a slightly lesser performance would have hurt the film.


With more time and more viewings I expect I will like Tuesday even more, but not much more because of how much I already do. I didn’t get the film the trailer teased. I got something even better, weirder, beautiful, unique, and memorable.