ABOUT THE WRITER: Harry Sabulis is a film, music, theatre and media crazed writer with a passion for all things artsy. A certified nerd and aspiring screenwriter, Harry loves storytelling in all of its forms. You can read some of his film reviews on his blog, Kill The Critic.
While it may not be your classic Mother’s Day family feature, Tully is one that your mother might just find something to laugh about in – and hopefully not at your own expense.
The new comedy/drama comes from writer Diablo Cody, known for Juno and Young Adult, teaming up with her former Young Adult collaborators; director Jason Reitman and star Charlize Theron. If you’ve seen any of those two movies, you might have a sneaking suspicion that Tully is going to be something rather odd, and you’re not wrong.
In true Juno fashion, the film is rich with eccentric dialogue and outrageously funny exchanges between characters, with Theron’s character Marlo showcasing the harsh reality of motherhood. The film centres around Marlo, a struggling mother, as she has her third child. From the stress of raising three children – coupled with a husband pre-occupied with video games and troubles at her son’s school – she decides to hire a night nanny to take care of not only her children but herself.
Despite its similarities to her former films, Tully takes a shift from Cody’s past work, particularly towards the end of the film. Demonstrating all the highs and lows of parenting and motherhood, the film is one that should be greatly appreciated, by mother’s and kids alike.
With that in mind though, this certainly isn’t a film for young kids. While a slightly more mature crowd will draw some parallels between the film’s character’s and their own lives, this is definitely from a mother’s perspective. Charlize Theron steals the show as Marlo, taking a step back from her more action-heavy leading roles in films like Atomic Blonde to something more intimate and close to home for many audience members.
The film paints a complicated and conflicted family portrait. While there are no major melodramatic issues in Marlo’s day-to-day life, the constant strains of parenting and general adulthood ware on her, all of which changes when the younger night nanny Tully gives her a taste of what life used to be like. Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049, Black Mirror) does a great job in the supporting role of the titular character Tully, offering a quirky contrast to the drab, mundane life of Marlo.
The cast is topped off with Mark Duplass (Blue Jay, Zero Dark Thirty) as Marlo’s snobbishly supportive brother Craig and Ron Livingston (The Conjuring, Adaptation) as Marlo’s slightly uninvested husband Drew. While this core cast is relatively small, they all deliver convincing performances in this slice of life, with even the child actors adding a lot to the film.
Overall, Tully gives us a blatant image of motherhood often hidden from the big screen; from spilt breast milk and bathroom emergencies to microwave meals and last-minute cupcakes. While the film’s ending left a little to be desired, it still works as an entertaining, out of the box comedy with plenty for mothers to relate to.
One things for sure: this isn’t your average film about motherhood. If you’re looking for something a bit more interesting than a new Mama Mia for a Mother’s Day viewing, this might just be the ticket.