“I hate actors who come and quote Nietzsche.”
Tully: My Movie Review
I saw this remarkable film yesterday with my sister. We enjoyed it, talked about what we saw afterwards and agreed that it was a satisfying film. I recommend it.
This is a Diablo Cody film and so we expect to be surprised and see a different slant on our human lives. This is the second film by Ms. Cody to feature Charize Theron. It has a blessed run time of one hour and thirty-six minutes, a relief after last week’s Infinity Wars which clocked in at a whopping two hours and forty minutes.
This movie is presented as very matter-of-fact even while challenging our understanding as the plot unfolds. Charize is a mother of two and then three as we meet her very pregnant to open the film. There is no judgement really, we see no blame on her, her husband, kids, teachers, family; no finding fault in anyone. This movie is presented for you to watch.
This approach as matter-of-fact made it okay for me to be not uncomfortable at breast feeding, for example. Something I’d normally not want to watch but it is a fact of daily life and so I was fine watching a birth, breast-feeding, storing milk, changing diapers. For a while I thought that it should have been billed as a film for women but, no, I was fine watching all of this.
The movie has plot surprises along the lines of The Sixth Sense or A Beautiful Mind. What we where shown for the bulk of the movie was not a reality but rather a projection, a reality for only one person; the Mom. Mom who is exhausted beyond belief. Tully is a nanny who shows up to take care of her and later we are horrified that all of the wonderful things done by Tully were really the Mom working, cleaning, cooking throughout most of the night. Scary stuff.
Tully at first is a godsend. She cares for the baby while Mom sleeps. Then she starts making it all about Mom. Then you are shocked to hear her swear. Then finally, at the end, she convinces Mom to go to Brooklyn and leave her babies with Dad who is not told, get drunk and eventually drive off of a bridge into a river.
Again, there is no judgement. The presentation of the film shows us the story. We don’t blame anyone which is a nice relief, a very nice relief. The need to condemn is so strong in us and normally we are told by the film maker where the blame should go — in this, we do not. It would have been so easy to blame the Dad, the Mom or even the Kids; nope, this is life: difficult, exhausting and a bit insane.
Diablo Cody needs her actors to tell her stories. Charize Theron’s first movie with Ms. Cody was Young Adult and she plays an asshole but, somehow, played so well that we like her. When people are doing things, really wrong things and even bad things, one needs that actor to make it work.
I’d never do stars or ratings but I can give this film my greatest compliment: I’d watch it again.