FilmObsession.com presents FILM TAVERN. Your filmtender/host Kodi reviews Tully from writer Diablo Cody and starring Charlize Theron.
Ah, babies. I don’t have one, nor have I ever had one. And the movie Tully may have inadvertently made me not get one ever. (I say that half seriously.) This new movie is written by Diablo Cody, who is the same writer who brought us the biting humor that we loved in JUNO. This time, instead of focusing on a teenage girl going through pregnancy, we see the world of post pregnancy through the life of a woman in her mid 30s.
For most of the film, I just felt this was a nice pleasant story of two women bonding and giving us the opportunity the see the horrors of maternity. I accepted that this wasn’t going to give me a big plot twist or anything. There is more to the story. I am just going to leave that door WIDE open. Don’t worry– no homicidal maniacs or kidnappings.
The story centers around Marlo, played by Charlize Theron, who is very pregnant at the beginning of the movie with her third child. She already has a daughter, and a younger son who has special needs. Really, there isn’t anything out of the ordinary about her family. They live a middle class life in suburban New York. The children are treated well. And Marlo’s stressed and tired by the time her new daughter, Mia, is due.
Now Marlo’s husband Drew, played by Ron Livingston, is frustratingly inattentive as a husband. He goes to work, plays video games, and doesn’t really help out all that much with the kids. He seems like a nice guy, just aloof.
Marlo’s brother then invests in a “night nanny” who will watch the new baby so that she can get some sleep. The idea sounds like something out of a horror movie. Marlo even says it’s like something off of Lifetime. At first Marlo resists the idea, but when her stress hits a breaking point, she makes the call.
Enter a young woman named Tully, played by Mackenzie Davis, who comes suddenly in the middle of the night to take care of Marlo as much as the baby. The strangest thing about Tully isn’t that she’s a crazy homicidal maniac; it’s that she’s pretty chill and quite attentive.
Tully’s really wise for someone so bubbly. While Marlo was uneasy at first by how young she is, the 2 quickly start to warm up to each other. Marlo finds herself opening up about everything from what she was like when she was younger to intimate details about her husband. Tully even plays housemaid taking care of the cleaning and baking.
The big story about this movie is literally the size of Charlize Theron. She gained 50 pounds and claims it was because of late-night binging on mac and cheese. Theron is no stranger to covering up her natural beauty. She famously gussied down to turn herself into the weathered and bulky Aileen for the movie Monster, which won her an Oscar. In Tully, she decided to let that belly hang out. Not a pretty sight, but realistic to the struggles of a mom who just gave birth.
Director Jason Reitman wanted to be as detailed as possible about Marlo’s baby struggles that he gave us a brutal montage of the repetitions of late-night feedings and diaper changings. Honestly, it was so exhausting to watch that this could’ve been an ad for a condom or birth control commercial.
Maternity and baby rearing isn’t a side explored often by movies since there really isn’t a lot of glamor to late-night feedings and temperamental children. But for any mom or dad, it may be enough to sit and watch this film to snicker and say, “oh I remember that” or groan as Marlo goes through each routine with a tired but dedicated willingness to please the baby.