Film review: Tully

A movie about the unspoken struggles of motherhood, Tully reveals the life of a woman consumed by the ironic instability of her routine life. After her third pregnancy, Marlo (Charlize Theron) hires a night-nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) and builds an infallible yet inevitably limited bond with her. Inspired by writer Diablo Cody’s own post-partum vulnerability, the movie peels off decades of false perfection emulated by and expected of mothers.

Tully is a thought-provoking, confronting and captivating film unveiling the internalised turmoil of a woman in her 40s. Despite it being a highly reflective film, Cody did not include any narration. Instead, she relied on Jason Reitman’s filmography to articulate Marlo’s every thought. There was a detail in every silence; Theron’s acting, the setting, lighting choices and muffled background voices screamed anxiety and frustration.

The storyline itself is about the mundane, however, there is nothing ordinary about this film. It exposes serious damaging struggles of a woman growing in both motherhood and womanhood with hints of cheeky humour to show her buried youth.

I found Marlo and Tully’s relationship perplexing— I have always loved a good plot twist, but unfortunately, Tully’s was not one I could appreciate. The last moments were defining pieces of this movie, which made it powerful. However, Marlo and Tully seemed too different and their instantaneous bond unrealistic, that even after their relationship was explained it was still incomprehensible.

Tully is undeniably one of the rawest films I have seen. It gave me a newfound appreciation for mothers and was a personal warning for young women, like myself, who often view motherhood through a ‘fairy-tale happy-ending’ lens. Cody conveys that, despite life’s unpredictability, there is strength in oneself and others which pushes us to get through.

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