Being billed as a comedy, Tully is a gritty, sometimes scary look at motherhood. The guilt, fear, exhaustion, depression, and horrible personal grooming habits – all of it – are laid bare in all its horrific reality. They even cover the annoying bit about needing to pee for the nurses after an epidural. It left me happy with my decision to not have more kids after thirty-five. I now know I wouldn’t have survived.
Tully was conceived by writer and producer, Diablo Cody, of Juno and Ricki and the Flash fame. After her third child, Cody relented to a night nanny to maintain sanity for her other kids.
Not since Mad Max has Charlize Theron taken on a role with so much passion for women’s issues. And not since Monster has she given such an intense performance. Fearless in her willingness to not be beautiful, Charlize Theron gained fifty pounds for this role. During the film I kept looking for evidence of prothsetics. You have to give extra props to a woman that pretty going all in for her art.
Theron is fabulous in this role. Several critics are talking more about Mackenzie Davis, who plays Tully. But honestly, she is a one-dimensional character, who has no screen-presence without Theron. Considering she was young, and energetic and could hand the baby back at the end of the night, I had a difficult time liking the character after watching the trials of Theron’s portrayal of dedicated motherhood. The chemistry between Theron and all her co-stars, even the young actors playing her children, is effortless. And her comedy timing is dead on.
I however have a difficult time calling this one a comedy. It has a sharp wit, but the overriding feel is dark. You will walk away tired and thankful for all the support you have in your own life, especially if you have kids. I think it is a huge disservice to advertise it as a comedy.
It has funny moments, but it’s a serious portrayal of the fears and reality of motherhood. They tackle the issue of having a special needs kid, the economic stressors on a marriage, and the fear of giving your child’s care over to a stranger. It also highlights the sense of regret, when you see no light at the end of the tunnel, and you remember the dreams you had in your twenties and that hot guy you vaguely remember marrying.
It’s a good film, it flows, it’s entertaining, but go see it knowing that it’s more a therapy session with yourself. Go see this one with your spouse and married friends. Hire a sitter for all your kids, grab a relaxing dinner and a designated driver. You’ll appreciate everyone in your life who gives you support and your kids, more in the morning.
Check out the trailer below!
Photo Credit: Kimberly French / Focus Features