Tully – Film Review by Frnak L.
Director(s): Jason Reitman
Writers(s): Diablo Cody (screenplay), Diablo Cody
Actors: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass
Set in a New York suburb, Marlo (Charlize Theron) is expecting her third child. The first two Emmy and Jonah have Marlo at full stretch, particularly Jonah who has behavioural problems which the school authorities consider require special assistance for which payment will be required. He is defined as “quirky”. The third baby arrives and Marlo is moving from struggling to sinking. She is not greatly assisted by her ineffectual husband Craig (Mark Duplass). He works at his job and plays with the kids, that is the sum of him. Marlo is the driving force. Everything is becoming too much for her. Marlo’s wealthy brother Drew suggests as a present from him that she hire a night nurse who will look after the new arrival and enable Marlo to get a night’s sleep.
Drew gives her the contact details for Tully. Initially Marlo resists but even she begins to accept that some help would be good. Tully (Mackenzie Davis) then turns up who seems to have at her finger tips every known skill and very rapidly order and calm reigns in the household. However, Tully reawakens within Marlo aspects of her life which existed before the kids arrived and a new story then begins to play out.
Reitman, who directed Juno (2004) and Young Adult (2011) where Carlo Diablo also was the script writer, is sure footed as he directs Theron into juggling far too many opposing factors which is the world of pressurised motherhood. Theron exudes exhaustion and frustration but with the imperative of having to keep going, because if she does not, no one else will. It is a tour de force of almost being drowned by the overwhelming complexity and mass of it all. In the second part when she and Tully escapade together the film loses some of its focus and Theron does not dominate the screen to the same degree. That said many mothers may well find her performance strikes a meaningful cord. Davis gives a convincing performance as the all wise, mega efficient nocturnal home help extraordinaire which she is as Tully.
There are many funny moments throughout the film and the subsidiary characters such as the administrator in Jonah’s school are credible. It all helps to make sense of the conflicting forces surrounding Marlo. It’s more difficult to comprehend the forces that Tully unleashes in Marlo. That said Charlize Theron’s performance as Marlo is a sound reason to see this movie.