“Tuesday” is unlike any movie I’ve seen. It’s quite odd, and that’s an understatement.

It’s about a mother named Zora (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who is moving through the five stages of grief made famous by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The reason for Zora’s grief is that her daughter, Tuesday (Lola Petticrew), is near death with a terminal disease.

Death is a character in the movie, presented as a bird (a macaw) which roams the Earth and, with a wave of its wing, ends the lives of people who are suffering. The macaw can hear the sounds of an enormous number of people in distress, but when it picks up the sound of Tuesday’s labored breathing, it flies through the window of her room.

This is where we learn Death can talk, in the deep voice of actor Arinzé Kene. Rather than giving up easily, Tuesday engages Death in conversation and manages to delay the sweep of its wing until her mother gets home. When she does, and is introduced to the bird, Zora moves from the Denial stage into Anger, physically taking on the avian manifestation of Death in an attempt to keep her daughter alive, even for a little while longer.

It’s in those scenes where Louis-Dreyfus proves her deep abilities as a dramatic actress. There’s no hint here of Elaine Benes, Selina Meyer, or the women she’s played in Nicole Holofcener’s romcoms (including last year’s “You Hurt My Feelings,” which I raved about here). As she bargains with Death, and later makes a very moving speech to Tuesday, Louis-Dreyfus is outstanding as she exposes the utterly raw emotions of a mother who knows she’s going to lose her only child.

Petticrew is equally good as Tuesday, a smart young woman with a quick wit who has to play verbal games with the macaw and also pull her mother through to the final stage, Acceptance. As for Kene, he plays Death as both menacing and empathetic. My only complaint about his voice work — or maybe the blame lies with the sound engineers — is that, early on, it’s very difficult to understand what the bird is saying before acclimating to his sound. I saw this in a movie theater, but may rewatch it once it moves to a streaming platform just so I can turn on the subtitles and not miss a word.

“Tuesday” is the first movie from writer/director Daina Oniunas-Pusic, who shows a lot of imagination in both her story and its execution, with some very good visual effects helping to make the strange story work (though she could have chopped off an tacked-on ending after its climactic scenes). It is decidedly not for everyone, particularly if your movie taste is for more mainstream fare. But if you’re up for something peculiar which nonetheless tugs at your heartstrings, you might find it worthwhile.

I give it a 7 out of 10. Opens today in theaters.