Back in 2007, before our economic recession, prior to a twitter personality being elected President and long before the me too movement brought women in entertainment more into the public eye, Director Jason Reitman (Juno, Young Adult) and Screenwriter Diablo Cody (Ricki And The Flash, Juno) crashed onto the scene with their first collaboration, Juno.
What really made waves, was when Diablo Cody won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Juno, her first screenplay.
Now, in 2018, we are given the third collaboration between Reitman and Cody, and she goes by the name of Tully.
Dare I say that while Juno and their second film Young Adult were exceptional, the third time might be the charm. Tully feels like the most mature and impactful script of Diablo Cody’s long career.
Tully centers around Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, Kubo And The Two Strings) as Marlo, a mother of three who has to balance caring for two kids and a newborn to the detriment of her own personal life and emotional well being.
The around the clock commitment Marlo gives to these children is brilliantly captured in a motherhood montage, that is unlike any other sequence of its type and may never be able to be duplicated.
Director Jason Reitman said that parts of that montage were filmed shot by shot, on each day of production, as if it was a lifeline guiding the cast and crew through the story.
Ron Livingston (The 5th Wave, Office Space), plays Drew, Marlo’s husband. Drew works all day to keep a roof over the family’s head, but his role as a father and husband seems to end there.
After returning from work he sits in bed and plays video games instead of making love to Marlo.
Mark Duplass (Zero Dark Thirty, Safety Not Guaranteed), a staple of Indie film, plays Craig, Marlo’s brother with ease and to great effect. Craig and his wife Elyse, played by Elaine Tan, are parents too, but they are wealthy.
We see by comparison how this class difference affords Craig and Elyse a lifestyle, a type of physical and mental health Marlo could only dream about.
This prompts Craig to give Marlo a night nanny as a birthday gift. This is a very real profession where a nanny comes over to a mother’s house in the middle of the night and tends to the needs of a baby until the next morning while the mother is sleeping.
Diablo Cody has said that the inspiration for Tully came from talking with a new mother in Hollywood who had a radiant glow about her and calm demeanour who said the secret was employing a night nanny.
It must be noted that, like Marlo, Diablo Cody is currently a mother to three, all boys in fact. Perhaps this closeness is what makes Tully and its characters feel more real and natural than Diablo Cody’s prior work.
Once Tully, a 20 something year old night nanny comes into Marlo’s life, everything changes. Tully and Marlo quickly form a special bond which is just what Marlo needs at that time.
In Tully, Marlo sees her younger self and is able to, at times, live vicariously through her. Nightly, Tully swoops in, like a maternal angel who the husband of the house is oblivious to.
What follows is a compelling, well crafted story that deserves to be seen and not revealed any further here.
Charlize Theron gives a bold and exceptional performance as always. She even put on quite a bit of weight for this role, which was put to great use.
Theron also starred in Young Adult, the second Diablo Cody movie to be directed by Reitman. The end result makes this a very happy reunion indeed.
Fans of Diablo Cody’s work will be in good hands as her trademark style is still there, all be it in more subtle ways.
For example, there is a scene with Tully and Marlo in a bar restroom that is so unique, so irreverent that it is clearly a scene conceived by Cody.
All of the female characters have esoteric names while the men have more traditional ones, another touch Diablo Cody is known for.
Tully premiered at Sundance in 2018 and has enjoyed a long festival run. I was thrilled to get to see this movie at The Florida Film Festival before it is delivered to theaters on May 4th.
I can guarantee that Tully is a movie you will want to see a second time, not just to experience it again but to fully appreciate the care and thought that went into telling this story.
It is fare to say that this movie left a big impression on me, even though I am not currently married and have no children. What I do have is a Mother. So there you have it, everyone who has had a Mother should see Tully….. that is the least we should do.
Curt Wiser is the Writer, Director of the Suspense movie Cam-Girl. As a filmmaker and artist he happily takes the time to share a kind word about other movies that are bought into this world.