Tully is slightly laboured, and after a long and intense one only gives birth to a conversation starter rather than a game changer. In Tully motherhood meets postnatal depression (‘PND’) and whilst the dialogue and acting is consistently good, it feels hard to engage until the final twenty minutes.
Marlo (Charlize Theron) is pregnant with her third child, currently on maternity leave with two children one of whom has special needs. Actually, you could say she’s mother to three children as her man child husband works and then comes home and plays video games. Things are compounded when she visits his brother and his perfect size 10 wife with her dog called prosecco who works out and has three children and a night nanny. Her brother, as a baby gift, pays for the service of a night nanny to help through this period. That’s when we meet Tully. However, as Marlo’s nights get easier and she starts feeling more like her old self, things then take an unexpected turn
Now, Tully is ambitious in tackling this taboo subject of PND on screen. This is the third film from director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody. However, with Juno, there was a magic that didn’t feel laboured. In this film it had too many cliches – depression means you eat not it doesn’t necessarily. The father character is shown as the typical not interested, self centred oblivious creature, and maybe that is true in many cases,but this was supposed to be a different take. Also, there is a massive twist in this film but to get there you have to labour through the cliches, of which there are many. The dialogue is pitch perfect and one would expect nothing less from Diablo Cody. On a lighter note, there was one point in the film when I thought I need me a night nanny like Tully – bakes cakes and cleans the house while I sleep- yes, please. A star is born in the form of MacKenzie Davis as Tully she is mesmerising on screen and brings much needed blast of fresh air to the film.
Tully is a valiant attempt to discuss this taboo subject. There are some scenes especially the nappy changing scene that is interspersed with claps that many mothers will innately understand- the banality and monotony of motherhood.
However, it just feels a little too Hollywood especially at the end that cheats the viewer of a film that could have been altogether darker and grittier had it held its nerve.
Tully is released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 4 May.
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