Release date: 4th May 2018/Watch the trailer here
From director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult) and writer Diablo Cody – a frequent collaborator of Reitman’s, also known for Jennifer’s Body – comes Tully, a drama-slash-comedy about the friendship formed between an exhausted mother of three, Marlo (Charlize Theron), and Tully (Mackenzie Davis), the night nanny Marlo hires to help with her newborn daughter.
At least a third of the film’s runtime has elapsed by the time the titular character makes her first appearance, but this allows Tully time to paint an honest portrait of motherhood – the highs, the lows and everything in between – in a manner that feels both sincere and warmly, darkly amusing.
The role of Marlo is far from a glamorous one, but Theron gives a remarkable performance without a trace of ego or vanity. While she’d be more than deserving of any awards that come her way, there’s no sense of her reaching for them in the first place – just a truthful, heartfelt performance that carries the entire film on its back. It helps that Marlo is such a well-written character, of course – Cody’s screenplay ensures that Marlo is more than just a mother, more than a wife, more than her postpartum depression. She feels like a three-dimensional, complex human being, and Theron brings her to life with ease.
Davis, too, is simply radiant as Tully, and she and Theron play off one another perfectly, with chemistry that feels real and natural. This sense of authenticity continues, even as Tully enters uncharted territory and begins to toy with some more fantastical elements than one would expect – and it’s because of this that Tully’s feet manage to remain firmly on the ground until the very end, rarely missing a beat along the way.
It’s thanks to this unexpectedness that Tully continues to surprise, consistently refusing to be the film that you think it’s going to be at the start. The second you think the story is about to go in a certain direction, Cody’s screenplay dares to follow an entirely different route, and it’s a film that keeps audiences on their toes from beginning to end. Although the risks Reitman and Cody take in the final act may not quite work for everyone, for most they should hopefully act as a satisfyingly surprising conclusion to the duo’s best work since Juno.