Review: Tig (2015)


© Beachside Films

© Beachside Films

We've all had those days where it just feels like everything is going wrong. Life presents us with moments of struggle to test our resolve, but when it feels like those obstacles come in a consistent wave, it can be difficult to find a way through. I have had those days and those moments on more than one occasion. One thing that I will do to help myself through those moments of strife is remind myself that no matter how difficult my current situation may be, there will always be someone out there suffering from much worse than whatever I might be enduring. If you ever needed a stark reminder of the validity of that statement, then do I have the documentary for you.

Tig revolves around stand-up comedian Tig Notaro as she prepares for an anniversary show at the Largo in Los Angeles. In 2012, Notaro suffered a number of personal setbacks: she was hospitalized with a rare but deadly stomach condition; her mother passed away; and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. With everything in her life seemingly stacked against her, Tig started to see a comedic vein running through her situation. She performed a now historic set at Largo where she used her recent diagnosis as a fodder for comedy. Tig became an overnight sensation as word of her set spread like wildfire over the Internet; as a result, she had to find a way to handle her newfound success while balancing her personal life and medical struggles to the best of her ability.

I have to concede that before hearing about this documentary, I had never actually heard of Tig Notaro herself. I feel as though I had seen her somewhere before, but the name definitely wasn't ringing any bells. I certainly had no real inclination as to what she has done within the realm of stand-up comedy. At some point, someone recommended that I watch this film, and I can easily say that I am glad they did. Tig offers an in-depth look at someone trying to claw their way back from the brink while attempting to maintain a certain level of success within their career. I could spend time in this review discussing the details of her story, but I believe that the best way to experience it would simply be to watch this flick. 

Her story is definitely engrossing, and it does enough to draw you into the film itself, but I believe that an individual's overall enjoyment of Tig will rely on whether you enjoy our titular player herself. Notaro presents a very deadpan and monotone approach both in her stand-up and in her everyday life, and it's a type of humor that can be incredibly polarizing. I, for one, enjoy the dryness of her demeanor, but there will surely be some who need a flashier personality with which to connect. The inherent problem with single-subject documentaries is they oftentimes need to rely too heavily on their sole focus. While a few other characters - including some big names in the comedy world - appear from time to time, this movie ultimately revolves around Tig. Because I enjoy that brand of humor, I was able to connect with Tig on the personal level so needed in a film like this. While the film itself portrays her story in a very paint-by-numbers fashion, the colors that story exhibits definitely shine brightly. 

Tig ultimately portrays a story of resilience and one woman's determination to fight past the obstacles that have been placed in her path. We as the audience get to experience the highs and lows with Notaro, and anyone who has experienced anything remotely difficult in their life will surely find someone on which to cling. The film presents an emotional story in very straightforward fashion, but it at no point ever starts to feel stale, which I take as a testament to the power of Tig's story. For those of you struggling with any obstacles in your life, give a gander to Tig Notaro. She just might inspire you to keep pushing.