May 04, 2018

Tully is in theaters on May 4th, 2018.

As a 30-something woman who is unmarried and childless, Tully looked like playful, middle-aged canon. On first glance, we see a trailer featuring a mom with carry-on luggage under her eyes and a clueless husband who spends his free time playing video games.

Tully tells a tale as old as time; a married couple whose bond exists mainly on a notarized piece of paper. Marlo (Charlize Theron) and her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) have three children -- a sweet-yet-outspoken young lady, a little boy who is a bit of a loose cannon, and a newborn. When Marlo is gifted a paid-for nighttime nanny from her well-to-do brother, Craig (Mark Duplass), she's skeptical. Most new mothers don't want to leave their babies with acquaintances, much less strangers.

There's a lot to be said for quality of life when one reaches the point of imminent extinction due to exhaustion, and Marlo quietly caves after a meeting with the principal at her son's school leaves her examining new education options for him in a mandatory fashion. Like a sunset after a storm, Tully (Mackenzie Davis) arrives. Though they've never met, Marlo and Tully have a very quick familiarity. Tully has a very serene way about her that helps to put Marlo at ease. She's great with the baby and seems to know Marlo like an old friend.

Drew begins to notice the shift in Marlo and everything turns around for the family. As an audience member, I was forced to wait on the edge of my seat for the other shoe to drop. There's more to Tully than meets the eye. Writer Diablo Cody previously penned gems like Juno and Young Adult. At the surface, they appear to be your typical dramedy fare, but her films tend to take the viewer to a place they weren't expecting to go. Tully takes a conscientious approach to this genre. It is a bracing interpretation of life and the toll it takes. Director Jason Reitman -- who worked with Charlize on Young Adult -- presents moviegoers with an authentic on-screen experience, much like what we've come to expect from him.

That said, I have to imagine that Charlize doesn't take much direction to deliver a sublime performance. Tully is no exception to that and Charlize's name ought to be mentioned come awards season. When credits rolled, a woman next to me asked, "Where have I seen Mackenzie Davis before?" She's been around for ages and after Tully, I find myself seeking out her entire body of work. Most famously, she starred in what is widely regarded as the most beloved episode of Black Mirror, San Junipero. She also stole the show in the box office flop, That Awkward Moment, and popped up in Blade Runner 2049, as well.

To the naked eye, Tully is a movie for the female demographic, but underneath that, it is such a human film. The flaws that make us people coupled with superbly illustrated insecurities so many of us have a difficult time coming to terms with are a structural entity in this film. Tully is a relatable and funny flick, but gives its viewer so much and takes so little. One of my favorites of the year so far, Tully is in theaters May 3rd!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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Motherhood isn’t always the glamourous 50’s-style ideal we are often presented with. From the writer- director combo that gave us Juno and Young Adult comes a depressingly hilarious look at parenting. Tully channels the same energy as Up In the Air and the duo’s previous works together, with a bitingly realistic dark comedy.

Charlize Theron reprises her ability to channel a flawed, grounded woman in her role as Marlo, a mother of two with a third child on the way. Despite having a seemingly idyllic life as a stay-at- home wondermom with a two story home in the suburbs and a loving husband, we quickly see the harsh reality of Marlo’s world. Her husband (Ron Livingston), sweet but clueless while he hides away in their bedroom playing video games all night, and her children, a daughter and a son who faces a developmental disorder, live in a house almost as messy as Marlo’s life. Life as a stay-at- home isn’t easy, as Tully drives home. Marlo “cooks” microwavable dinners, rushes her children to a private school that consistently calls her into one-on- one’s about her son’s classroom behavior, all the while she barely has time for herself – she’s gained weight, stopped dressing for more than just comfort, and barely has time to clean – all while teetering on the edge of giving birth to her third child.

Her successful, rich brother (Mark Duplass) offers her a gift of a night nanny, so that Marlo can finally have time for herself – to finally return to the Marlo he remembers. Despite initially refusing, she finally caves shortly after her youngest daughter is born and she realizes how little time she has for herself. The night nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis), helps to revitalize Marlo – not just by freeing up her time and allowing her to sleep and relax, but also by helping her come to terms with her struggles with motherhood and aging.

Tully is a black comedy that resonates so well because of its realism. It captures relatable struggles that are funny because of how true they really are. Dropping her phone on her newborn baby while texting, being asked what’s wrong with her body when she takes off her shirt in front of her oldest daughter, and living the same moments over and over again as she takes care of her family, Tully shows us a side of motherhood that we rarely get a glimpse into. It maintains a careful balance between depressing and charming, with its lead on the border between witty and unlikeable. Marlo isn’t a wondermom, she’s just like us – deeply flawed. Tully takes us to a dark place – on the verge of a breakdown of a mom who feels like they just can’t take it anymore, an aging woman who wonders if she can ever return to being the fun-loving girl with dreams she once was before she had kids. It explores places that most either have or will one day explore ourselves. The film has heart, and it shows us that we’re not alone. Despite tackling some tough themes, Tully manages to remain heartwarming and humorous.

When Marlo’s night nanny, Tully, begins work – the movie starts to look up. The witty banter between the two as they become BFFs adds another element to the film and adds levity. It’s smart and it’s funny. The dynamic between the two brings back some of the Juno magic and makes Tully an instant success. But the conclusion of this story is what truly makes the movie shine. The film’s ending is riveting, and perfectly wraps the movie up. The pacing of the film emotionally builds to its big finish and makes the film about more than just parenthood – but about the hardships of life and aging. It truly is a grand finish and makes the movie well worth the journey.

Tully brings back the magic of its writer-director duo. Its release is smack-dab in between some of the year’s biggest blockbuster films, and it shines precisely because it is so opposite to them. It is biting and realistic. It lacks the flair and pizzazz of a large-budget movie and it cuts deep because of this simplicity. Tully is both hilarious and touching – but not because it has a feel-good ending you could wrap in a bow. It’s because it portrays the reality of the human condition – of mental illness, motherhood, aging, and feeling lost and overwhelmed. A fantastic breath of fresh air and another hit for everyone involved.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Johnny Johnny (Senior Contributor) was born and raised in San Diego. He's been a fan of films the majority of his life. He enjoys the feeling it invokes and the power it has to take you to another place.
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Tully Stars Charlize Theron as Marlo, a stay at home mother of two with another on the way. When her brother offers to pay for a “night nanny” to assist once the baby comes. Reluctant at first, she eventually gives in and makes the call. Tully, played by Mackenzie Davis is the nanny and forms a very special bond with Marlo.

Diablo Cody is back! This movie is a true testimate of her talents. One thing I really enjoyed was the dialogue, the interactions with the characters was very real - all the humor and little quips back and forth felt like conversations real people would have. It didn’t feel forced or over the top, everything just flowed so naturally.

I praise Diablo for writing a movie that represents motherhood in its truest form. Things that mothers go through aren’t discussed and the emotional and mental effects that pregnancy can have on a person. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows!

I think this would be a good movie to take your to see for Mother’s Day, take your mom, sisters, girlfriends - whoever! Mother’s will be able to relate to many of the scenes and emotions that are shown in this film.

This movie is very different than anything you’ve probably seen but give it a chance, you won’t regret it. And you’ll appreciate your mother more too!

Rating: 4 out of 5

AshleyKAshley K. (Contributor) is a frequent traveler currently living in San Diego. She's a super nerd who enjoys all kinds of movies and doesn't always think the book was better.
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