Directed by: Jason Reitman
Writer: Diablo Cody
Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, and Ron Livingston
Run Time: 1h 36min
Genre: Comedy, Drama
3 ½ Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
Going into ‘Tully’ I didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes when I know ahead of time that I’ll be reviewing a film, I avoid all mention of the said film, so I can go in without any knowledge of the concept and therefore don’t build any preconceived notions. I especially avoid trailers as I believe, this is especially true of the last few years, they give away too much of the plot. I’ll try not to reveal too much here, myself.
What I knew of ‘Tully,’ and all I needed to know to sell me on it, were the stars, the director and the writer. Charlize Theron, Mark Duplass and Ron Livingston in a film directed by Jason Reitman who directed the wonderful ‘Up in the Air’?! Enough said! But then written and produced by Diablo Cody, too?! Cody first came on the scene when she wrote her smash hit film ‘Juno” for which she procured a BAFTA, Writers Guild, Critics Choice and Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay. Quite the accomplishment. ‘Juno’ was also directed by Reitman. ‘Young Adult,’ which I considered to be rather good, as well, Sees Cody and Reitman together also and stars Charlize Theron. Knowing this, I was chomping at the bit for this new film. Still I refused to learn too much of the story, instead, I went in trusting the team that designed the piece. I had heard all I needed to know to get me in the theatre and should do it for you, too. Reitman and Cody make a good team. ‘Tully’ is very well written, quite charming and whether you think you can relate to the characters or not, very much worth your time.
Theron plays Marlo, a pregnant mother of two, who’s about to have baby number three shortly. One of her children, her son, has difficulties in school, shows all the signs of autism, and makes getting through the day quite a struggle. She has to brush his body to reduce the anxiety of everyday stimulation for him. Her husband Drew, played by Ron Livingston, of ‘Office Space’ fame, works a lot and when home he spends more time playing video games than he does noticing if Marlo has had a good day, is okay or needs his help. He is a good father and they do have a loving relationship, but their communication is more about the kids and problems that arise rather than relaxed and problem free. Then, of course, when she has the baby things get more chaotic for Marlo and, seeing less of him, she begins feeling drained and sleep deprived.
Her concerned and very wealthy brother Craig, played by the charismatic Mark Duplass, offers to pay for Marlo to have a night nanny come over in the evenings and help her. This is so she can get some rest and be more prepared to handle the sunrise. At first, the idea of someone coming into her home and taking care of her child doesn’t thriller Marlo but she eventually finds herself unable to dig herself out from underneath mounds of housework piling up around her. She feels neglectful and, realizing how good it’ll be for her family to have someone help, she accepts the generous gift.
This is when Tully, (Mackenzie Davis from ‘Blade Runner 2049’), a young woman in her twenties, enters her life. Still a little nervous about the situations, when she finally meets Tully she feels genuine warmth come from her. Knowing that all will be well, Marlo puts her head on the pillow, closes her eyes and gets the first good night’s sleep she’s had in years.
As the relationship deepens and the help she’s receiving becomes more about the bond between the two women, their conversations and the film itself gets more engaging. It’s also considerably witty. Whether you’re a woman or have been a parent or not, you’ll enjoy the banter between all the characters in the film. The Reitman/Cody union has always been strong and this time it’s not only good but has matured, as well. A twist they throw at you at the end of the film is not only kept well-hidden but is a testimonial to how Cody has evolved as a writer which makes you giddy for her future work. Whatever she has coming up for us, hopefully, she’ll not stray too far from her formula and from these partnerships that work.
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Official Website: http://www.tullyfilm.com/