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Movies & TV

06th May 2018

Charlize Theron’s new movie Tully is a great story with the most Marmite-y ending we’ve ever seen

Rory Cashin

Anyone who is a parent (or knows a parent) needs to see this movie. So, yes, that means everyone.

The plot synopsis for Tully is a simple one:

A mother of three (Charlize Theron) is finding it increasingly difficult to keep all of the plates spinning with the arrival of a newborn, a difficult middle child who needs more attention than any one person can provide, and a husband (Ron Livingstone) who has a job that is constantly pulling him away on business trips.

When her wealthy brother (Mark Duplass) gifts her with a voucher for a “night-nurse” – someone who essentially watches the newborn so the Mom can get a good night’s sleep – Theron initially baulks at the idea of having a complete stranger in her home all night.

However, one particularly bad day later, and Theron redeems the voucher, and that night sees the arrival Tully (Mackenzie Davis), who immediately makes herself at home, and within a few days Theron is back to her old, happy, energetic, love-filled self, while also becoming good friends with Tully in the process.

That, in a nutshell, is everything that happens within the first hour of the movie, as Theron’s character rediscovers herself thanks to the free-living spirit she has invited into her life.

However, and you knew from the headline there was a however on the horizon, something happens in the movie that will either send the movie-goers home with a big smile on their faces, or an angry and confused frown, as the movie we all went in to see is not the movie that we’re walking out of as the credits roll.

As a spoilers break, here is the trailer, and a reminder that you should go see the movie, even if the ending does end up eventually annoying you…

Clip via Universal Pictures

Still here?

Okay, so, Tully is written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman, who individually have had some chequered pasts (Cody scripted cult-classic/trashy flop Jennifer’s Body, while Reitman directed the fantastic Up In The Air and the not-so-fantastic Labor Day), but combined they have previously given us Juno (which essentially split the audience 50/50 with the love or hate for it), and Young Adult (which essentially split the audience 50/50 with love or didn’t see it).

Theron was also in Young Adult, and the trio certainly have a vibe going on, and while that vibe is entertaining and often very funny, it can also feel a little too clever for its own good.

Which is where the problem with Tully lies, as director Reitman was interviewed by UPROXX, and essentially told him the two-line pitch Cody had delivered before she wrote the script:

“I want to write a screenplay about a mother of three suffering from postpartum depression, and a younger version of herself comes to save her.”

Yes, by the end of the movie, we discover that Mackenzie Davis’ character is actually just a younger version of Charlize Theron’s character, and that Tully was just the Mom’s middle name all along.

Yes, Tully is basically Tyler Durden, but instead of blowing up Starbucks, she is Mary Poppins’ing a mentally stressed mother back from the brink of psychological collapse.

Yes, it does double down on the movie’s whole mantra of “There’s no love like self love”, and what RuPaul has basically been telling us for decades, that if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love anyone else?

BUT… it does leave the audience with A LOT of narrative hurdles to jump over, like the husband NEVER seeing this night nanny in his house over the course of several months? Or how the psychological damage of Tully (real, old Tully, not imagined, young Tully) is being repaired by… actually just staying up all night herself, talking to herself?

Again, there is a lot to like in the movie, not least of which the Theron and Davis’ performances, which are awards worthy, as well as the raw and powerful representation of actual parenthood (specifically, motherhood), which just proves that every parent needs to be given an award EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. just for making it to bed in one piece.

But is that enough to forgive what is essentially an overused “It was all a dream” plot-twist, but given some cutesy, indie-darling cred because of the people involved? We’re not so sure. Real life doesn’t give get-out-jail-free cards, so giving this ending one feels like a cheat.

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