TULLY Review – Charlize Theron Plays Against Type & Scores Again

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TULLY Review by Staci Layne Wilson

Everyone knows Charlize Theron is more than just a fabulous face and a bodacious body—her Oscar for playing a serial killer in Monster proved that years ago—but you may not have thought of her as the go-to gal for comedy. While she did team up with director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody for a somewhat similar role in 2011’s Young Adult, Tully is truly the trifecta of their combined talents.

Theron plays Marlo, a harried mother of two (three, if you count her videogame obsessed hubby) with a baby on the way. While she struggles to makes ends meet – not to mention keep sanity intact – Marlo’s brother Craig (Mark Duplass) and his yoga-loving wife Elyse (Elaine Tan) have money and angelic children to flaunt.

So it’s really nothing to them when they hire a pricey “night nurse” to help with baby Mia as soon as she’s born. Tully doesn’t want charity or “a stranger bonding with my baby while I’m asleep” but her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) thinks it’s a great gift and convinces her to accept it. A good night’s sleep is worth losing a little pride, right?

But Marlo doesn’t get a good night’s sleep, or any sleep at all, after Tully (Mackenzie Davis) takes over.  But thanks to Marlo, Tully just may begin to reconnect to a part of herself that she thought was lost forever under a pile of dirty laundry and baby spit-up.

Theron underwent a transformation to convincingly play someone who could have given birth to three children; we see all the rolls, wrinkles, sweat-stains and stretched-marked breasts magnified on the big screen. Though I suspect a body-double was used for a lot of the warts-and-all closeups, Theron is not exactly looking red-carpet ready… which is absolutely perfect for the context of the story.

We need to get down in the trenches of motherhood with Marlo, and we do, thanks to fearless filmmaking. While Tully is a comedy, it’s dark, dark, dark! As you watch, you may find yourself thinking, “Wait… should I be laughing at this?”

Tully is a multi-layered character with both likable, and unlikable traits – in that way it’s similar to her role in Young Adult but there’s a twist here that you probably won’t see coming.

My only complaint – and it’s really just a matter of taste – is that the original score is irritating and the choice of vocal songs is pretty annoying too (the Cyndi Lauper musical montage is a true test of one’s patience). Some might find the conclusion of the tale too odd, but after the initial shock I liked it and thought it was fitting.

Tully is smart, funny, and brutal. It’s a must-see for moms and non-moms alike.

Rated R
1 hour 36 minutes

Does this TULLY Review make you want to see the movie even more? Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.


TULLY Review by Staci Layne Wilson

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on StaciLayneWilson.com

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