My mother has told me funny stories about how she had me and my sister as babies. She ate Oreos when I couldn’t go to sleep, and I remember knocking over a wine glass in the middle of the night. It’s obvious that motherhood can be hard. They’d probably tell me I don’t know how they feel, and that may be true, but the new Indie comedy “Tully” does.
It represents motherhood with a kind of spark and emotions that are often ignored in most mass market movies these days. Some like “Daddy’s Home” are mean-spirited and irritating, others like “Home Again” are too cliche, but “Tully” is nothing like those two.
Charlize Theron reunites with director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody as Marlo, a hurried mother with three kids. Among her problems, her son Jonah has to be sent to another school, because he’s “quirky,” (I assume he’s autistic); her husband (Ron Livingston) has to focus on his work; her 8-year-old daughter Sarah is going through an emotional stage; and her baby girl Mia cries night and day.
So, under the advice of her more successful brother (Mark Duplass), she decides to call a house nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) to help her out. She has mixed feelings about the nanny at first, based on her tone, age, and flexibility, but she’s able to communicate with her.
“Tully” can be a bit overwhelming at times with the kids kicking and screaming, but that’s the whole point. We need someone to tame the mother’s situation, and we’ve got one. The outcome is humorous, smart, unpredictable, and gripping.
No cliches are needed, and I love that very much. Here’s an example: I was worried the husband would be some kind of fornicator, because of his job and marriage. That does tend to happen in specific comedies these days, but not here. This husband, wonderfully played by Livingston, is concerned about his wife’s stability, his kids, and the world of parenting. I feel relieved.
But about the two main actresses, they’re a match made in Heaven. Theron explodes when’s she’s stressed and angry, and she amazes you when she’s allowed to be herself. And I love the scene when she yells at the principal for dismissing her son because of his disability. And Davis is delightful, and her chemistry with Theron is charming.
The last movie Reitman directed was “Men, Women, & Children” from 2014. That was a terrible movie. His next work “Tully” is amazing. Nice revamp.