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The Ties that Bind: A TIFF Review of ‘Tammy’s Always Dying’

September 8, 2019Britany Murphy

Many of us have had to deal with the difficulties that may come from having parents who are hard to get along with, and haven't necessarily been there for us. However, in Tammy's Always Dying, this situation is amplified due to Tammy's (Felicity Huffman) alcoholism.

Every month when the welfare money runs out, Tammy's daughter Catherine (Anastasia Phillips) has to talk her mother off a bridge, quite literally. However, everything comes to a head when Tammy is diagnosed with cancer; and with this illness added to another, Catherine finds herself at the end of her rope. The only answer: to appear on a talk show, where she might have to sell her life story, along with some lies about her mother's prognosis added to the mix. Caught between telling the truth or selling her proverbial soul for much-needed cash, Catherine must make the decision about whether or not her life is truly better without her mother in it.

A testament to the lengths people go to for family, even if their situation is less than ideal, Tammy's Always Dying features brilliant direction by Amy Jo Johnson and great performances from Huffman and Phillips. Because ultimately, we only have those closest to us, and those are the bonds that need to be cherished.

Tammy's Always Dying makes its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 25 min.

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