Saturday movie review: Tully

I can't tell you much about the plot of TULLY. I watched every moment of the engrossing film. I was affected—and often amused—by Diablo Cody's story, Jason Reitman's directing, the entire cast's acting.

Yet I can't tell you what TULLY is about. If I do, it'll ruin the movie for you. Because TULLY isn't what you expect.

tully poster.jpg

So to keep from sullying TULLY with spoilers, I'll share the official blurb from Focus Features, the company responsible for the film. A blurb that gives nothing away. Unlike what would certainly happen if I attempted any sort of summary of the story for you.

Here goes, official TULLY blurb:

A new comedy from Academy Award®-nominated director Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”) and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”). Marlo (Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis).

And official TULLY trailer:

Though TULLY is not at all what you expect, Charlize Theron is. The multiple-award-winning actress does exactly what you think she will: turn in an astonishing performance.

Theron as Marlo, a mother of three—one being a newborn, another with behavioral issues—is so utterly real. She's really overwhelmed. Really exhausted. Really in love with her husband (who doesn't really do as much as he should to help her out), her children, her life. Yet she sometimes just really needs a break from her life. 

She's really every mom of young children—in the most taxing, tiresome time of motherhood.

Theron's Marlo resonated deeply with me. I found myself laughing at moments then choking up a tad here and there. Even during some parts that were supposed to be funny. Were funny, but as a formerly stressed-out, frantic mom of three, some scenes hit so close to home they cut to the bone. Well, more accurately, to the heart.

Theron is the reason to see TULLY.  The second reason: Mackenzie Davis as Tully. I found it hard to take my eyes of her. Davis imbued the night nurse with an inexplicable ethereal quality. I wanted to know more about her, be as grounded yet free-spirited as her, as patient and wise and just plain cool and confident as her.

Mark Duplass, starring as Marlo's husband, Craig, always seems to me to have this subtle silly-yet-sentimental thing about him, and his role here was no different. Though a bit oblivious here and there as to what Marlo needs, he certainly didn't seem short of love for her or their kids.

Speaking of kids,  Asher Miles Fallica, who plays the rather neurotic Jonah, played the part with aplomb. Jonah's behavioral issues came across as genuine, not overly dramatic as some child actors play such parts. Quite impressive from such a young actor—though Asher does have an unexpectedly long list of credits that clearly contributes to his professionalism.

One thing I'm compelled to share about TULLY, despite staying relatively silent on the story, is that TULLY has a handful of scenes that might make some mothers and others cringe and cover the eyes of their nearby kids. I'm talking about adult kids as the R rating should prevent any mother from sharing the show with kiddos. I'm no prude—or, at least I never thought of myself as such—but I did wriggle and tsk a time or two. Just FYI, my friends, even though I can't flat out tell ya what those parts are.

And now, a featurette on the film:

TULLY (rated R "for language and some sexuality/nudity") opens nationwide this Friday, May 4, 2018. Find out more on the official TULLY website.

Disclosure: I screened this film free for review; opinions are my own.