Tully
Directed by: Jason Reitman. Written by: Diablo Cody. Starring: Mackenzie Davis, Charlize Theron, Mark Duplass. Length, 94 minutes.

“You think you're a failure; nevertheless, you have managed to realize your biggest dream,” says au pair Tully to Marlo, a middle-aged professional woman and mother of three small children, at one point in this film. If with the first two it was already difficult to reconcile work and family — her husband Drew does not help much with the housework — when the third child comes, things get much more complicated.

Of course, both Marlo and Drew are very happy with their youngest; but after a few weeks of chronic sleep deficit, she no longer sees everything through rose-tinted spectacles. Marlo agrees with the suggestion of her brother Craig: hire a babysitter named Tully to take care of the baby at night. Finally, the mother can sleep well.

“Tully” is the work of the same team — the scriptwriter Diablo Cody and the director Jason Reitman — who ten years ago produced the surprising “Juno”, a light-hearted politically incorrect comedy about the pregnancy of a teenager. Here they use the same easy, at times adolescent tone, to address a serious issue: motherhood in a society that imposes especially high demands on mothers.

Says the scriptwriter: “Marlo works in the human resources department of a company. It is not her dream profession, but the family needs that salary. She also has to prepare muffins for her children's school, if she does not want to be considered a bad mother.”

These pressures are present in the film, but as a kind of backdrop. Something similar can be said about the male characters: as in Juno, they tend to be mere props, since Tully focuses mainly on the relationship between the two women.

Charlize Theron, who – as usual – is also the producer of the film, not only demonstrates again her ability to change her physical appearance (for the role of Marlo she had to put on quite a few pounds) but above all her versatility, her variety of registers for expressing emotions.

For her part, Mackenzie Davis introduces a youthful air and the self-assurance of her age: Tully says she is 26 but looks younger. In addition, and very convincingly, she gradually breaks through Marlo's initial distrust to end up injecting her with a good dose of second youth. The credibility with which the two actresses portray this friendship, regardless of age differences, is one of the highlights of Tully.

At the same time this new film by Cody and Reitman provides an unvarnished, and even quite stark view of motherhood in the 21st century: the “big dream” of many women takes its toll with its unwanted side effects. However, the happiness of being a mother predominates.

Republished with permission from Aceprensa.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is a New Zealand journalist with a special interest in family issues. She began her working life as a secondary school teacher but always fancied the life of the scribe. Too late, she...