Review: 3 Palm Trees out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso
Tully is a 2018 American comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. The film stars Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, and Ron Livingston.
Tully follows the life of Marlow, an overworked, underappreciated mother of 2, and her budding friendship with her new night nanny, Tully.
Diablo Cody has never shied away from portraying every cut and bruise that the normalcy of life so effectively leaves us with. Tully pulls back the dainty veneer placed on motherhood and really lets it all hang out for us. Plenty of films have presented radical solutions to the very real problems of postpartum depression and midlife crises. Wild solutions such as embracing some abrupt change in one’s character, or to zealously remain steadfast to one’s current track in life; Tully takes a more nuanced stance. To plant roots, embrace normalcy, but also be flexible. Change may be scary and inevitable, but it can be just what we were looking for.
Diablo Cody’s script is a bit of a slow burn hinging on some witty lines that may or may not work for you, but really shines with its portrayal of the struggling mother. Particularly visceral and carried by the performance by Charlize Theron, Marlow was a character who was both nuanced and believable. With Tully’s arrival, these two women only further develop into richer and more complete characters. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the others won’t feel nearly as fleshed out.
As our protagonists grow and develop, it’s hard not to care for these people as we learn of their desires and goals. They are deeply relatable, whether you’re a mother in a similar situation or just one sensitive to the struggles women face. On top of this, what Marlow want is just the same fulfillment and security that anyone can relate to. For me, it was how we get that security was what made this film resonate. To remain strong but not hesitate to face change head on.
Also funny enough, I was really appreciative of the short run time of Tully. 90 minutes with little padding and concise storytelling is almost refreshing at this point as movies are seemingly inflating to ever longer times. Diablo Cody gets the point across quickly, and director Jason Reitman kept a very snappy and consistent pace throughout the film.
There isn’t much else left for me to say, other than that I just really enjoyed this film. My gut reaction has me feeling like I’m longing for more somewhere in this script. To really go deeper into the world of postpartum depression and family rearing. However, by this film’s own merits, it hold up incredibly well. I try to keep away from saying what a film should or shouldn’t add, so I won’t try to. What we got was a wonderful ode to motherhood, and a poignant cautionary tale. It’s short and it’s sweet, and an all-around well told movie. Rated R 1h36m