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11 years after director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody collaborated on the indie hit Juno, the two reunite for the third time for the indie dark comedy Tully. A mom of two, Cody replaces Juno. Cody is a middle-aged pregnant woman battling the stresses and exhaustion of raising a newborn while keeping her family moving forward.

In her most unglamorous role since she transformed her look in Monster, Charlize Theron offers a gripping portrayal of a wife and mother who can barely keep it together as she balances pregnancy (and eventually a newborn), two young children, and a barely-there husband, both emotionally and physically. And if two kids and a newborn wasn’t enough, one of Marlo’s two children, Jonah, is being kicked out of his private school because they feel he may be better suited in a different environment. Cody effectively captures the PC world we live in today with Jonah’s school and Marlo’s friends and family labeling him “quirky,” rather than special needs. It is only after a painfully funny tirade at Jonah’s school and having what some may define as a nervous breakdown, that Marlo reluctantly accepts an offer from her bougey brother and his wife to pay for a night nanny. Enter Tully, a 20-something who upon meeting Margo tells her “I’m here to take care of you.”

Tully (Mackenzie Davis in a breakout role) is the complete opposite of Marlo – young, intelligent, skinny, energetic, optimistic, and a free spirit who is full of life. An old soul who speaks multiple languages, manages multiple relationships, and spouts things such as “I’m like Saudi Arabia, I have an energy surplus”. And, as Margo’s nighttime pal, Tully serves as her psychiatrist, friend, and confidant. Yet, as sweet and caring as Tully is, there’s a bit Single While Female in her too. Whether it’s her offering to wear headphones so that Marlo and her husband (Ron Livingston) can spend time together or watching Marlo breastfeed, there’s something a bit off about her. Still, though, with Tully assisting the family, Marlo starts to feel like she can “see color again” and begins to return to the woman she was before the birth of her newest child. Without spoiling it, the movie takes an interesting turn and whether it works is left to the viewer to decide.

Cody accurately paints the picture facing many married couples raising young children today – one in which finding couple time is difficult if not nonexistent, where many women are often stretched managing a full-time job and the household, and a life in which the husband comes home refreshed from work, receives the big hugs and kisses absent for the overly worked mom, and then eventually retires to a room to relax (in this case, playing video games in bed). Women everywhere will relate well to Margo. Men will turn to their wives and thank them for all that they do for the family.

Tully is just the perfect amount of quirky, odd, and sweetness in this new indie release.

Tully is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Mark Eaton
Mark is an entertainment junkie, spending much of his leisure time watching movies, TV, or listening to any and all genres of music. Most evenings, after finishing a day of work and hanging with his wife and kids, Mark can be found in an eternal battle with his DVR, trying to clear it before another 5-6 hours of shows are recorded the next day. Still reeling from his unpaid gig for the Detroit News where he was fired for being too cruel with his American Idol recaps, Mark is thrilled to be sharing his wicked sense of humor with Movie Reelists.

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