What Real Motherhood Looks Like – Tully Review

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Motherhood isn’t perfect Instagram pictures and having a glam squad put you in a dress and heels to leave the hospital the same day you gave birth. Motherhood is raw, and the parts that you don’t see portrayed in Hollywood can be a slap in the face when they happen to you. Until now, enter Tully. 

A new comedy from Academy Award®-nominated director Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”) and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”). Marlo (Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis).

I was brought to Los Angeles for the Tully press event and was able to interview the cast and director for the film. More on those interviews later but first I wanted to tell you about my thoughts on the movie. My first thought is that anyone that is a mom needs to see this film. If only to see those mom moments portrayed on the big screen by the amazingly talented Charlize Theron. Theron is a mother of two herself and really brought this film to life. Much like her work in Monster, Theron gained weight to look the part of a new mom. The story was conceived by Diablo Cody after she gave birth to her third child. Through her experience of hiring a night nanny to help during those sleep-deprived few weeks (sometimes months) of newborn life. 

The movie starts while Marlo is still pregnant with her third child. That last leg of pregnancy when you just want the kid evicted and everyone to stop asking when you are going to pop. This is when Marlo’s brother approaches her about gifting her a night nanny. Much like any mother would be apprehensive about having someone come into your home at night to care for your brand new baby and you, Marlo wasn’t interested. After a few nights of the restless routine and the added stress of caring for two other children, Marlo finally gives in and calls the night nanny. 

Charlize Theron stars as Marlo in Jason Reitman’s TULLY, a Focus Features release.

Tully isn’t just about the stressful aspects of caring for a newborn and yourself; it also focuses on caring for your whole family. When you have multiple children and a husband to care for as well the burden of everything landing on you can sometimes be too much the bear. And that’s ok; you’re not alone on that feeling. Marlo is faced to deal with issues happening with her son that she isn’t sure how to handle. Much like the recent viral post on Facebook about a mom breaking down about a meeting she had with her daughter’s school, we dread hearing things about our kids. Whether it’s that they are quirky, different, challenged, misbehaving, or not fitting in, we as mothers look at is a failure on our part. The burden falls to us. Seeing this played out on screen really hit me. Because those moments are very real. That was me crying because the milk I just pumped spilled. 

Marriage is another aspect that we have to focus on and nurture. We see Marlo tackling so much in a day that it doesn’t leave room for nurturing her marriage. Her husband, played by Ron Livingston isn’t doing much to help Marlo either. I think the perfect example of this is the day that Marlo is in the hospital with their new baby girl and her brother and wife come to visit. Marlo’s two other children are playing on the floor while her husband sleeps in the chair. Marlo asks them to put the baby in the nursery crib so that she can get some rest. It’s a glaring look at how some mothers don’t have the help of their partners. Diablo Cody did a great job of throwing in some “Dad the babysitter” aspects in there, but not from an outside perspective, from the dad’s! 

(l to r.) Mackenzie Davis as Tully and Charlize Theron as Marlo star in Jason Reitman’s TULLY, a Focus Features release.

Then you have Tully, played by the exuberant Mackenzie Davis. Tully is the breath of fresh air that Marlo needed. While I am new to the thought of a night nanny, I would be all over this if I were to have another child. Not only for the help for the baby, but also for my own mental health. Having help outside of your partner is fantastic. Even if it’s a family member coming to stay with you to help with your other children. When I was spending a lot of time at the hospital during my last child’s birth and complications, I needed all the help I could get for my other child. I’m thankful to the family and friends that brought us meals, or even just playing with my oldest in the waiting room. Every little bit helps. Not just mom, but the whole family. Marlo comes back to life after Tully enters the picture. She is refreshed and revived. 

There is a fantastic twist to Tully that you don’t see coming, but it makes the story all the more perfect. You’ll have to watch it to see what the twist is, no spoilers from me. 

Tully is a beautiful and raw look into motherhood and everything that comes with it. From the after birth diapers to the overwhelming meltdowns and the touching moments with your family. Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody, and Charlize Theron managed to capture motherhood, unlike any movie have before. As a mom, I suggest gathering your mom friends together and seeing it for Mothers Day. Make it a Mom’s night out; you know you need one. Hell, we always need one. Tully hits theaters May 4th. 

Stay tuned for next week when I share my interviews with Jason Reitman, Charlize Theron, Ron Livingston, Mackenzie Davis, and Mark Duplass. 


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