The beautiful Hollywood diva plays a mother who suffers from stress and insufficient sleep; due to a home life that does not give her a moment’s rest.
Taking care of home and family is a full-time job; especially considering that her son has problems with hypersensitivity to external triggers.
Everything quickly worsens when she gives birth to a third daughter; being even more forced to give up her job and social life.
Getting to the point of being totally exhausted; she listens to the advice of some friends and decides to hire a nanny to help her.
Although initially skeptical, she discovers that she has found an exceptional girl; a cheerful, energetic young woman named Tully.
Deep sympathy and complicity immediately sparked between them; partly due to finally being able to rest and live more peacefully, but not only that.
Indeed, the nanny’s attitude reminds her of her best years; when she lived more brightly and cheerfully without responsibility.
With a tinge of sadness, she then assesses her current life; wondering wistfully if she can ever be that happy again.
But the relationship with this girl is not as healthy as it seemed at first; while her husband is increasingly concerned about her rapid change.
Excluded from a situation he cannot understand; the man will not be able to talk rationally about the problem with his wife, who hides an incredible truth.
Family and happiness are always the same things?
Jason Reitman is a filmmaking native son who has managed to emerge with his own particular style; making comedies mixed with drama that always have something clever.
2018’s Tully is a movie in his wheelhouse; alternating nostalgia and sadness with more lively and brilliant moments.
However, the director never breaks away from a certain underlying seriousness; still managing to deliver sequences of pure cinematic magic.
What’s more, the script takes a different stance from traditional comedies/dramas about the American family.
In the context of this story, home and family become a dead-end prison; where children and daily commitments restlessly oppress a woman on the verge of a breakdown.
Even in despair, there is the light of hope; so even a call for help can become a new possibility.
A chance to reinvent a life petrified by ordinariness; for we all know that what kills passion is the constant repetition of the same actions.
In the young girl, the adult woman finds someone finally willing to listen to her; someone with whom to share the unmentionable secret of having come to hate her family.
Despite the ending, the whole story has a very realistic slant; never overdoing the comedy or the drama but staying in a perfect balance of genres.
I admit that I approached this movie expecting only harmless entertainment; but I found more than I was looking for, mainly thanks to an extraordinary cast.
A nanny between husband and wife
Besides the perfect direction, what makes the story work is the beautiful and disturbing triangle of characters.
Charlize Theron is, of course, the undisputed star; wonderfully playing a mother in existential crisis with one of her best acting performances.
First of all, her physical transformation is incredible; giving up her usual model sex appeal and becoming a tired, grumpy, fat woman.
Despite the joy of having a child, many women will understand her situation, given the psychological and physical impact pregnancy has on a mother’s life.
Even love for a newborn can quickly become tiresome; especially when the protagonist is already at the end of her rope.
Ron Livingston is equally good as a husband full of certainty; but who is actually incapable of fully understanding his wife’s problems.
Although the collapse happens before his eyes every day, the man takes refuge in the illusion that all is well until it is too late.
Quite the opposite is the young Mackenzie Davis as Tully, naive and innocent as a free and happy soul.
But naive does not mean stupid, but somewhat open to experimenting with the new; obviously running the risk of getting screwed and suffering.
The catharsis between these two souls happens totally; leading us to an ending that is perhaps far-fetched, but will undoubtedly explain many strange situations.
Jason Reitman concludes his (never stated) trilogy on women that began with Juno and Young Adult.
However, 2018’s Tully remains the least known movie in this little saga; so let’s spin its name by doing justice to an elaborate and intelligent drama of the human soul.