Tully – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Tully is an ode to mothers who found a way to survive child rearing one way or another, even if it was by allowing themselves to go a little crazy.

Director(s) Jason Reitman
Screenplay By Diablo Cody
Date Released 5/3/2018
Genre(s) Drama, Comedy
Noted Actors
Marlo Charlize Theron
Craig Mark Duplass
Jonah Asher Miles Fallica
Drew Ron Livingston
Sarah Lia Frankland
Tully Mackenzie Davis


With being somewhere in her late 30s, Marlo has somehow achieved the best and worst thing she could ever dream of. She has three kids, the oldest around 8, works in human resources, and lives a boring and routine life. Something very unlike what she and brother Craig grew up with. However, as boring and routine life can seem from the outside, it is also downright exhausting. Especially with a son like Jonah who everyone calls “quirky” but in truth might just be high functioning autistic. In fact, doctors have said he is “Atypical.”

Though it isn’t just Jonah but dealing with a baby that cries all the time and Drew, oh wonderful Drew, there is something about him which is just nice enough to not be told off. Like, he doesn’t help with the baby but he makes sure their eldest daughter, Sarah, does her homework. Yeah, he may play video games in the bedroom and not help with the baby, but he makes enough so that Marlo being on maternity leave doesn’t mean she has to stress out about money.

I mean, is he the ideal? No. But after “riding all the horses on the carousel” he is the bench which was comfortable and acceptable. However, with this new kid, comfortable and acceptable isn’t helping Marlo’s mental state. She already had a bad bout of PTSD when Jonah was born and there is a bit of fear from Craig, who can already see a cloud over his sister, she is going to a dark place again. So, he gives her the number for a night nurse and like Mary Poppins, in comes Tully. A young woman, 26 years of age, who seems perfect for Marlo. More perfect than we get to know till the end [tooltips keyword='(Spoiler).’ content = ‘When we find out Tully is a younger version of Marlo who she has been dreaming up, like an imaginary friend, to help her deal with being stressed out, getting no sleep, and not much in the way of help from Drew.’].

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

“I’m not safe, I’m scared.”


Dark Comedy At Its Best

Marlo laying in bed looking at her husband.
Charlize Theron as Marlo

Truly, something about Diablo Cody, Charlize Theron, and Jason Reitman together brings about some of the best writing and performances you see. Cody has sarcasm down to a pat and Theron knows how to not make the character seem like an ass or pretensions when she reads her lines. It’s sort of like a down-home, mid-west kind of vibe. I serious, “it is what it is and if I don’t do it then it won’t get done” type of style.

Something you appreciate for even as a 26-year-old male, I find myself weirdly connecting to Marlo, despite also not having any kids, and being exhausted. The way this is cut and directed, you can imagine being wired up trying to keep a baby alive and deal with them screaming at the top of their lungs. All the while dealing with this kid who wants to kick your seat, whose antics freak out his sister, and then dealing with his school? The one which is private with 20+ kids in the class and despite how glowing the education is, they can’t do nothing about your son. In fact, they want you to pay for an aide or otherwise he’ll be dismissed?

Between Theron and Cody, you feel like you’ll need a Tully in your life just to get out of your seat for just vicariously living through Marlo presents the idea that maybe a vasectomy or getting your tubes tied isn’t such a bad idea. Especially if you got someone like Drew for a partner who does just enough that you feel like you can’t yell at him. Well, if you had the energy to yell.

Tully and Marlo’s Scenes Together

One of the beautiful things about this new era is how it allows women to have conversations which don’t revolve around their relationships with men. It can deal with motherhood, feeling like you settled or just never had a real dream to attain at all. You just didn’t want your kids to have the same childhood as you. Perhaps want to connect with someone since, at this time, the people you used to, they aren’t in your life anymore.

Tully meeting Marlo for the first time.
Mackenzie Davis as Tully | You may think I just picked a bad screenshot, but the way Tully looks here, kind of off-putting, is how she acts throughout the movie.

And let’s not forget the multi-generational conversation. One which isn’t between mother and daughter but just two women at different points in their life. Talking about the complication of having roommates, dating multiple people, be it men or women, and just enjoying each other’s company. Swapping youth with experience and getting to live vicariously through one another.

Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)

I don’t know who truly deserves the praise, so I’m going to go with Charlize Theron since Diablo Cody’s writing isn’t always that consistent – in terms of appeal. For between her and Davis, it really leads you to hope that as Cody, Reitman, and Theron did Young Adult, then this, that maybe they do something to address maybe a woman having a midlife crisis alongside her golden years. Since something about these three seems like a golden trio.

Leading to why the Positive label. This film somehow finds a way to not be Oscar bait-like, drown itself in sorrows, or become asinine with its sarcasm. It strangely finds this sweet spot where, even if you aren’t a mom or have kids, you get it. Boy, do you get it to the point you’ll be as worn down as Marlo is when all is said and done.


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