Rated R, 96 Minutes, Released May 4
The movie Tully plays like a short story with a twist, even though it involves the dark side of motherhood. This is a highly unusual view into the trials of maternity and raising kids that are endured by many women and seldom brought to light. On the surface this film is about the pain, the depression, the loss of self, the physical changes, the alienation and the loneliness that can result from having children. The movie does not play as a tale of misery however. Screenwriter Diablo Cody, who won an Oscar in 2008 for her screenplay for Juno, has fashioned it as an often humorous, whimsical, philosophical and psychological treatise with realism and a twist.
Charlize Theron, who has two adopted children of her own, put on 35 pounds to play the starring role of “Marlo.” She noted in an interview that she gained a similar amount of weight for her Oscar-winning performance in Monster in 2003. However the weight did not come off as easily this time now that she is in her early forties. Theron is completely believable in this story as a mother of two about to give birth to her third child. Also giving solid performances are Ron Livingston as Marlo’s husband “Drew,” Mark Duplass as her brother “Craig,” Mackenzie Davis as “Tully,” and Asher Miles Fallica as Marlo’s son “Jonah.”
Having once led an off-the-charts bohemian lifestyle, writer Diablo Cody is herself now a mother of three young children. She began her career in advertising in Chicago and was bored and frustrated. On a whim, became a stripper, a profession that gave her the change of environment she needed. She has now happily settled down to family life. The movie seems to be populated with elements of Cody’s own personality. The story includes some fascinating insights, realistic situations and universal cries for help.
You don’t have to be a mother or even a woman to relate to Tully. It’s a thoughtful study about the aloneness that can happen even when surrounded by loved ones. It holds up a mirror, reflecting how we often take for granted those who are closest to us in our lives, those who are always there for us…the ones who seem so self-sufficient. Yet none of us can live without others, and the ones who don’t reach out for help themselves are sometimes the ones who need it most. This is a good, outside the box, movie for Mother’s Day.
Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica.