TIFF review: Tammy’s Always Dying

Amy Jo Johnson's sophomore effort features an over-the-top but ultimately moving performance by Felicity Huffman as a narcissistic, alcoholic mom

TAMMY’S ALWAYS DYING CWC D: Amy Jo Johnson. Canada. 86 min. Sep 5, 6 pm, Scotiabank 1 Sep 8, 7 pm, Scotiabank 4 Sep 14, 1 pm, Scotiabank 2. Rating: NNN

In Hamilton, bartender Catherine (Anastasia Phillips) does her best to cope with her disaster of a mother, Tammy (Felicity Huffman), whose narcissism, alcoholism and general sourness has been a burden her whole life – and now Tammy’s sick.

Working with a script by Joanne Sarazen, director Johnson follows the self-consciously eccentric The Space Between with a more assured study of messy, co-dependent lives. And Phillips, of Don’t Talk To Irene and Bomb Girls, is impressively raw as a woman trying to cut through decades of baggage in order to define herself on her own terms.

Clark Johnson and Kristian Bruun make their supporting characters pop, and while Huffman’s Tammy starts out way over the top, she eventually dials it back to something real and even moving.

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