Tulsa poster

‘Tulsa’ tells the story of a broken man who’s about to give up when suddenly he must become a father to a small but spirited girl he didn’t know existed.

Directed by: Scott Pryor, Gloria Stella.

Starring: Scott Pryor, Livi Birch, John Schneider, Nicole Marie Johnson, Cameron Arnett, Cedric Greenway, Michael Aaron Milligan, Kristin Brock, B.J. Arnett, Odessa Feaster, Kylie Delre, Hannah Alline, Elise DuQuette, Jarrod Beck, Kristopher Charles, Riley Fincher-Foster, Reese Gould, Gioia Jiles.

Country: United States.

Genre: Drama.

Running time: 120 minutes.

Drama films don’t have to be storms of tragedy and misery to be good. It’s definitely not something to be complied with. We’re just used to something wrong. It’s like a movie cannot be good and win awards if it doesn’t end putting the viewer in a discomfort zone. This is a lie. A movie can be good if it uses an effective method to tell a story. If that story is filled with inevitable affection and heart, and the viewer feels that in the final product, then the work is done.

I’m not an expert on this battle for reasons you must be familiar with. I’m not used to watching “Hallmark movies”, because I don’t find them enjoyable.

But I’m human. I feel stuff. And with Tulsa, I thought I was watching something that had come out of a greeting card and one my mother’s editions of Reader’s Digest. It certainly has that sort of beginning. However, the dynamic tone of the film is almost magnetic. Due to a soulful and touching performance by a very young actress and a great resolution, I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. I didn’t feel like I gave in to Tulsa‘s formula. The movie suffers from that poignantly, but there’s just something about those honest performances (and a heartfelt final message in the screen) that took me by surprise.

In Tulsa, we meet a small girl called Tulsa who’s been living in a foster home with another kid when the police suddenly arrive and take her foster mother. The system separates them, and now Tulsa is left without a temporary family; her biologic mother passed away in a motorcycle accident years ago. She only carries a picture of her father in a bible, and when the social worker realizes who he is, she takes Tulsa to meet him. She’s excited to meet him. But Tommy’s scruffy and bitter, and he certainly does not believe he has a daughter with a woman he slept with years ago. While some paternity tests are completed, Tulsa stays with him against Tommy’s will. A few days pass and Tulsa’s energetic attitude and faithful smile conquer the man. Slowly, he starts thinking this is something he can actually do, but for this he must face his demons and overcome the past.

This life changing plot is definitely something we’ve seen before; some of the funniest scenes of “biker becomes dad” are reminiscent of past movies. But it’s Tulsa‘s heartwarming director that sets the tone for a quite different resolution. Maybe we know where the movie’s going at first, but a sudden twist turns the dramatic and innocent movie into an encouraging study of characters portraying two people meant for each other at a certain moment in their life. Tulsa makes us believe in that possible turn of events, and that’s something not quite common in these “plastic” adaptations of cookie cutter scripts.

It’s a Saturday morning flick to watch with your parents. No matter the age, it’s guaranteed that Tulsa will make you smile a bit.

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

A trailer

With information from IMDB, YouTube.

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