Out this week in cinemas across the country is Tully from director Jason Reitman. Starring Charlize Theron and Mackensie Davis Tully follows mother of two Marlo (Theron) as she is about to her third child. The long-suffering Marlo has to deal with her two children (one of which may have some learning disabilities which make life with him very tough) and with the third one’s arrival, she feels completely overwhelmed. It also doesn’t help that her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) isn’t there most of the time to help her with the management of the children. In a strange move her successful, wealthy brother offers her assistance in the form of a “night nanny”. Basically, this ninja nanny would show up in the middle of the night take care of Mia (the new arrival) and this would allow Marlo to rest and recharge her majorly depleted batteries. After one particularly stressful day with Jonah her young troubled son Marlo decides to activate protocol night nanny, enter Tully (Mackensie Davis).
Tully is very much a character story about the reality of parenting and what it can do to a woman. The main reason why this film works so well is the commitment Theron has thrown into playing Marlo. This is an all too realistic depiction of being a parent, in particular, a mother who has chosen to pause her career and her life to take care of her children. The audience is shown every aspect of what pregnancy does to a woman and as a man, I couldn’t help but admire Marlo. She is trying so hard to keep everything together and it is clearly taking its toll on her both mentally and physically. Thankfully when Tully enters the scene Marlo’s life starts to take a turn for the better. Tully is a wonderful companion. She’s a soothing balm for Marlo as she discusses her life’s woes, there are some teething issues when she is first introduced with her free spirit hipster b******t. Thankfully though after about 10 to 15 minutes though she becomes quite charming. Davis is her usual charming self giving the audience a compelling double act in the form of these two women at different points in their lives.
The way the scenes in Tully are formed depicts the state of Marlo’s mind and this can range from the colour of the scene to the positioning of the cast there is a lot of care given. There is also a sharp screenplay in Tully, some scenes don’t add anything to the narrative as a whole but what they offer the characters in the form of the exploration of their character is great, even emotional at times. A particular favourite of mine is a scene with Marlo, Jonah and a teacher who has a touching interaction with the boy.
There is something though that kept me from fully enjoying Tully, I was constantly questioning where the film was going to go as the direction of the plot felt far too vague. At times there was a sense of a modern-day Mary Poppins who would help fix all the parents problems, or there was the other subtle plot element where Marlo was clearly unfulfilled with her life. The film does take a different approach and with it, you may come to fully appreciate this film, or you may get deeply, deeply annoyed. I personally am in the former party.
Tully is a fantastic film although some people may find how the story goes something of a marmite situation meaning you may end up loving or hating this. Either way, Tully is a memorable time at the cinema.