One thing for sure: Charlize Theron is not afraid to look ugly in her movies. After Monster (2003), here she is in Tully with 25 kg more than usual after eating a lot of junk food. And another thing for sure: Diablo Cody can write interesting stories about women and, paired with his friend-director Jason Reitman (they are those of Juno, 2007), he knows how to bring them to the big screen.
Tully is the story of a stressed mother, Marlo (Charlize Theron), who not only must take care of his two children, with one of them defined “quirky” by everyone, but she’s also pregnant with a third. Her husband (Ron Livingston) is a good man but doesn’t help much at home, and as if that wasn’t enough, his brother (Mark Duplass) with all his money and his perfect family constantly reminds her how hellish her life looks like. What will become of Marlo?
And here comes Tully to save her, a young and energetic night nanny. This job really exists in the big cities of the United States, and I have no idea if it exists in other places in the world as well. In any case, Diablo Cody got the idea of writing this screenplay after he had his third child and contracted a night nanny and she found her incredibly helpful. I know that this plot looks like the plot of a bad comedy, but don’t be fooled! This movie is anything but stupid and, above all, it’s not a comedy.
Tully is a movie about serious issues like having problematic children and post-natal depression, something that we don’t see every day in Hollywood movies. These themes are introduced perhaps a bit too suddenly, maybe too much so. One criticism that I feel like making, for example, is that the movie doesn’t seem to be very focused. In the first part it seems to be about the problems of a large family with a son who’s ill-suited to the school system. In the central part the movie takes the tone of a comedy with the introduction of the nanny. And then the final part turns dramatic and changes theme again. I found this structure confusing: it seems that, by dealing with so many themes, the film lost its focus on the main one, depression, which comes up all of a sudden and it’s not fully explored, or at least not as much as it deserves.
Tully is certainly a film worth watching, not at all stupid, which deals with a number of interesting themes. The actors are all very good, the soundtrack is amazing, and if you like the style of Reitman here you’ll surely find his beloved handheld camera. I would like a to watch it a second time before judging it: this is the classic film that on second watch either proves to be brilliant or reveals all its weaknesses. Ciao!