Tully takes us on a journey through the rocky road of post-partum depression that can transform a new mothers life. With the Director and Writer from Juno (Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody), we are brought through the highs and lows of parenthood and everything in between. Tully will make feel every bump along the way and leave you truly shocked once the credits roll.
Tully follows the mother of 2, Marlo (Charlize Theron), as she is expecting and has her third child. As a gift, her brother (Mark Duplass) offers to pay for a night nanny to come in and care for the baby during the night to allow for the parents to sleep. After weeks of sleepless nights and being driven to insanity following the birth, she gives in to the offer and calls the night nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis).
Tully is a guardian angel for Marlo, who sees her as a symbol of lost youth. She reinvigorates her life stating that it’s like she “can see colour again”. This is reflected in the overall view of the film, colours seem brighter, there are less monotonal and dingy shots expressing a complete shift in her life. Tully seems too perfect to be true, her optimism, knowledge and work brighten up every aspect of Marlo’s life, claiming she’s not there to care for the baby, she’s there to “care for you”. At the same time, you get the sense that she’s is everything that Marlo wishes she still was, a past version of herself before life took its course. You instantly fall in love with Tully, her brightness seems to just be the cure for all of Marlo’s problems and simultaneously makes you feel comfortable and relieved.
Reitman and Cody do not hold back in their honesty for the troubles of early parenthood and post-partum depression, there are times in which you are almost wincing in pain feeling her exhaustion. They show almost every tiny task of caring for 3 children so that you feel the weight of her life, seemingly having no time to herself until the intervention of Tully. The whole film centres on Marlo with her as the centre of every scene, no side plots, just pure focus on Marlo making her seem isolated alone in this world despite having a family, which only heightens the feel of depression experienced in almost every scene without Tully.
The film blends humour and drama well, making the reality of this feel real, there’s no over the top drama, it’s just life and life even in the darkest times will make you smile. This is especially done with the juxtaposition of her brother’s perfect life adding some funny moments involving her brother’s wife and her very ‘detached from reality’ outlook on life. It gives the audience a feel of ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’, which just adds to Marlo’s problems of having to look through to what a ‘perfect’ family is.
Charlize Theron gained 50 pounds for the role and is rumoured to have come down with depression while making the movie. That’s some commitment to the role and it shows throughout. You feel her pain and are truly relieved any time she seems happy or has a good nights sleep, it’s a character a lot of people can relate to as someone almost drenched in reality, you really feel that this person exists.
To conclude, Tully is a brutally honest view of life with post-partum depression while bringing up 3 children. Its excellent writing adds to the immersion of the movie and makes you feel the sense of cold harsh reality. It will feel like such a relatable feeling for so many people and gives an insight to the rest of us on the sacrifices of parenthood and the toll it can have on a person.