July 27, 2018
Street Date 7/31/18;
Box Office $9.23 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language and some sexuality/nudity.
Stars Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, Ron Livingston.
Tully re-teams the writer/director pairing of Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman with actress Charlize Theron to present a raw, unflinching look at motherhood, postpartum depression and the sacrifices of being a parent.
The film plays almost like the flipside to the trio’s previous collaboration, 2011’s Young Adult, which featured Theron as a professional writer who practically refused to accept the boundaries of adulthood. Here, she plays Marlo, a 40-year-old mother of three who is confronted nonstop by responsibility.
Already dealing with a son with special needs, Marlo’s attention is pushed to the limit by a newborn daughter. Her wealthy brother (Mark Duplass) offers to pay for a night nanny to deal with the baby so Marlo can get a regular night’s sleep, which leads to the arrival of Tully (Mackenzie Davis), who seems to be the answer to all of Marlo’s troubles.
Marlo’s conversations with Tully and admiration for the girl’s youthful energy lead her to reflect on the path of her life and how the potential of her youth gave way to the road she ended up taking.
The schism between youth and maturity has become a common theme in the films directed by Reitman and scripted by Cody, who first teamed for 2007’s Juno, about a teenager dealing with the effect a pregnancy would have on her future. That proved to be a fruitful collaboration given that Cody subsequently went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. (The pair also worked on the Cody-penned Jennifer’s Body together, with Reitman serving as producer.)
Theron gives a tremendous performance in a role for which she reportedly gained 50 pounds. Ron Livingston is effective in a subtle performance as her husband, who would be willing to help more if only he realized how in over her head his wife was with the children. Theron and Livingston have a nice rapport together, suggesting a healthy marriage nonetheless weighed down by the experiences of life and the obstacles of family.
The Blu-ray includes a solid 10-minute featurette about the making of the film featuring interviews with the cast and filmmakers.