Coming from the director Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning Juno writer who also penned Young Adult, we have reason to expect another smart, witty, real and watchable story peering into our everyday lives. With the terrific and unpredictable Tully, you will not be disappointed.
Perfectly timed for Mother’s Day, the pair is re-teamed with their Young Adult star, Oscar winner Charlize Theron, who plays Marlo, a dutiful mother of two who is now nine months pregnant with an unplanned No. 3. Married to a nice guy named Drew (Ron Livingston), who is predictably consumed by his own career and essentially leaves the parental heavy lifting to his wife, Marlo is a real earth mother — whether dealing with the school of her problematic and easily agitated son (Asher Miles Fallica), trying to pay attention to her awkward daughter (Lia Frankland) or plowing through an exhausting pregnancy with no one to help her pull this all off.
One day her brother Craig (Mark Duplass) and his perky wife Elyse (a very funny Elaine Tan) suggest that Marlo hire a night nanny like they have. They explain this is a person who sort of magically sweeps in at night and effortlessly takes the baby off your hands for a rare good night’s sleep (until it is time for a breastfeeding, for which she gently will wake you up). Sound too good to be true? That is what a very skeptical and resistant Marlo thinks as she dismisses the idea — until one day, as she is driving her screaming kids around and feeling the pangs of being about to give birth to another, she pulls out the reference they gave her and makes a call.
Into her life comes a most understanding and capable, if very young, night nanny named Tully (a wonderful Mackenzie Davis) who really does make Mary Poppins look inept by comparison. In no time, Margo finds herself bonding with Tully in a relationship that goes in surprising places, not only related to taking care of a new baby for a few hours.
As I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), this is Theron’s show from first frame to last, and she settles into this role without missing a beat. This is a woman who is simply worn out from it all and needs to be renewed. She’s the most loving and capable of mothers, but there has to be more to life than this, doesn’t there? Theron never has been better, and she is matched by Davis (Halt and Catch Fire), a real find. Beware that Cody’s script takes some twists and turns that I certainly didn’t see coming but shows she keeps maturing as a writer, as does director Reitman, who lets the material speak for itself without adding a lot of unnecessary flash. Happy Mother’s Day, indeed.
Producers are Cody, Reitman, Theron, A. J. Dix, Helen Estabrook, Mason Novick, Aaron L. Gilbert, Beth Kono. Focus Features takes it out starting Friday.
Do you plan to see Tully? Let us know what you think.