At its heart, Tully feels like it has a lot to say and for the most part it succeeds. The latest film from writer Diablo Cody and Director Jason Reitman brings us what at first look is a simple slice of life tale. As the film unfolds, we discover their is more to it than that.
Charlize Theron brings her “A” game as a mother of three who has lost her way. Theron does all the heavy lifting throughout the film, the camera stays focused on her pretty much from the first frame to the last. This is truly her life, trials and all, and as a result we begin to feel what she’s going through.
I imagine most parents will relate easily enough, I know I did. To Cody’s credit, she doesn’t necessarily write Theron’s on screen husband as the typical, less than helpful around the children type. His misgivings are hers as well, they both share the fatigue of being parents and responsible adults. He decompresses at the end of a long day by playing video games, while her inability to do so is really the heart of Tully.
From a film makers stance, Jason Reitman continues to grow as a director. Tully moves along at a brisk pace, Reitman doesn’t linger more than he should on any particular scene. He successfully pulls us in whenever Theron is feeling trapped and at her emotional breaking points. A few times I found myself feeling genuinely bad for Theron, wondering if she actually hated her life and really loved her husband. By the movie’s end, we’re left in a place where the answer isn’t hand fed to us and that’s really okay.
Fans of Juno will feel right at home in this world. The writing is no doubt in the voice of Diablo Cody, in fact she even seems to take a few light hearted jabs at critics of Juno. The script has a great voice overall but it does have a misstep or two, nothing to really bog things down though.
Tully is an enjoyable tale that can really be any mother’s story. Life is frustrating, but taking that frustration and putting it into a film that entertains is quite an accomplishment.