A mother of three hires a night nanny to help with her newborn.
After a couple of underwhelming efforts in ‘Labor Day’ and ‘Men, Women and Children’, it’s good to see Jason Reitman reuniting with writer Diablo Cody again for a third fruitful collaboration after ‘Juno’ and ‘Young Adult’. ‘Tully’ feels like an evolution in the stories Cody and Reitman are trying to tell and they potentially mirror the stage Cody is at in her life at the time she was working on each script. ‘Juno’ followed the story of Ellen Page’s teenager coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, and ‘Young Adult’ followed Charlize Theron’s character who was the popular, hot girl at school and has never managed to develop beyond that persona. ‘Tully’, also starring Charlize Theron, is a film about motherhood first and foremost and it’s a frank and unflinching a look at how challenging it is, but it’s also a film about how we evolve as we get older to become different people than what we once were.
The premise of ‘Tully’ follows Marlo (Theron), the mother of two young children who is heavily pregnant with a third, unplanned child with her husband Drew (Ron Livingston). It’s clear Marlo and Drew love each other but the spark has gone out a long time ago and the film depicts their lives as existing in a state of not much beyond coping and surviving. When Marlo’s rich brother (Mark Duplass) floats the idea of paying for a ‘night nanny’ to look after the impending third child, her initial scepticism gives way to exhaustion after another sleepless night and she decides to go for it (there’s a great little montage at this point that underlines Marlo’s decision). Enter ‘Tully’ (Mackenzie Davis), a free spirited 26 year old who effortlessly looks after the new baby whilst also acting as a reminder of the life that Marlo once had, and perhaps wishes she still did. The clever script contains many surprises that I won’t spoil, but suffice to say this is a smartly written movie and I really enjoyed it.
‘Tully’ is another fine collaboration between Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, taking on the experience of motherhood with a good balance of humour and some surrealistic elements and I thought it worked on account of Theron’s committed performance and the sharp and ultimately, touching script. This is one of those films that the more I think about it, the more I like it and I’d highly recommend checking it out, especially if you’ve enjoyed Reitman and Cody’s previous films together.
Directed By: Jason Reitman
Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston and Mark Duplass
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