You will like this film only if you define annoyance as entertainment.
Tully was a colossal disappointment for a number of reasons. The first was that Director Ivan Reitman and Screenwriter Diablo Cody previously combined on Juno (2007), one of my favorite films.
Secondly, Tully stars Charlize Theron as the mother of three on the edge of madness, and I expected this talented actress to shine in this role. Sure, she has been in a number of questionable films like A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014), The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016) and last year’s Gringo. However, she earned her Oscar in the sensational Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) as well as making Atomic Blonde one of the best films denied Oscar consideration in 2017.
Yet the unfortunate reality is that Tully was a mess from beginning to end. Despite the credit due to Ms. Theron for gaining over 30 pounds for her role, she gives a confusing performance as a mother who has become overwhelmed with her existence. Not only does she have a newborn to breast feed morning, noon and night but also a young son with terrible mental and emotional problems. He has as much trouble fitting in at school as she does at home.
In the process, her brother Craig (Mark Duplass in a largely forgettable role) offers to hire her a night nanny to help Ms. Theron’s Marlow get a bit of decent sleep. Though she initially rejects that offer, her daily existence becomes borderline unbearable given the fact that her husband Drew (a lamentable performance by Ron Livingston) insists on playing a video game nightly while in bed. Quite frankly, the movie would have been infinitely better had Marlow simply decided to divorce her hopeless husband.
Nonetheless, the movie focuses on the appearance of Tully, the night nanny played with some charm by Mackenzie Davis. As they gradually grow closer, Marlow clearly begins to see a bit of herself in the younger Tully. There is a reason for that, but an explanation would destroy the film’s premise.
Though the film has some occasional humor, it becomes buried in multiple scenes where Marlow’s entire life seemed to be little more than a combination of her son’s behavioral problems and the constant demands of breast feeding. It is not an exaggeration to say that most viewers will be left wondering how much longer this blasted film will last before being able to flee the theater.
Let me repeat by saying that the biggest problem with this movie was that I wanted it to be a very good film. I was hopeful that it would provide some meaningful insight into the demands of motherhood. Tragically, it left the suggestion that the only path available to a woman contemplating pregnancy in order to find happiness was to have her tubes tied.