To say I was excited to see Tully (2018) is a gross understatement. I was so excited I could barely taste the olive oil popcorn I was shoving into my mouth by the handful. While I was eager to experience another Jason Reitman-directed picture, having thoroughly enjoyed Juno (2007) and Up in the Air (2009), it was Diablo Cody’s screenplay that I was most looking forward to. I fell in love with Cody after reading her 2005 memoir Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, which chronicles the transition she took in her young womanhood from tedious secretarial work to amateur stripping.
Cody’s prose is biting and self-deprecating, and she embraces her misfit femininity with ferocity. I could not wait for her next dose of sarcastic dialogue and unashamed social critique. I was not disappointed. Tully centres on the life of Marlo (Charlize Theron), a wife and mother of two children, with a third child on the way. It is obvious that she loves her children deeply, though her surprise pregnancy and son’s behavioural issues have begun to gnaw at her zeal for life. After her daughter Mia is born, Marlo begins to pine for a bygone era of youth, freedom, and possibility. Marlo’s wealthy brother Craig (Mark Duplass) buys her a night nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis), to ease her depression.
The two women develop a fiercely unique friendship, and Marlo begins to embody the “normal” role of glowing new mother. Though this film sounds like a hum drum foray into family drama, a twist emerges from left-field and spins the whole story onto itself, though I won’t divulge any spoilers here. Theron’s performance is something to behold. Marlo’s quick, cynical quips feel like they were destined to fall from Theron’s lips, and you could feel the exasperation oozing from her bleak, mournful eyes. You do not need to be a mother to enjoy this film. It is a funny, tragic, and deeply enlightening commentary on the trials and tribulations of just being you.
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