10 May 2018 | matthewssilverhammer
A supremely empathetic parental plea
We're all familiar with the idea of the "duality of man", those two sides of who we are that are counter to each other yet together make up who we are. Tully explores the "duality of woman", specifically the juxtaposing intricacies of what can make someone both a stable mother and simply an older version of their youthful leanings. In that, this movie becomes a rare sort of mumblecore film: one with a purpose. Thematically rich, progressively sweet and artfully entertaining, it's a Reitman-Diablo Cody director-writer collaboration (Juno, Young Adult) that shows a clear growth in both of their crafts.
Theron (with volatile brilliance) plays an overwhelmed mother of three who hires a young, free-spirited night-nanny to help restore some normalcy and rest to her life. Playfully, this dramedy uses horror to show the all-consuming terror of being a parent. It uses action-style editing to reveal the speed with which life passes you by, especially when you start having kids. With cunning self-awareness, it utilizes the "manic-pixie-dream-girl" trope to show our lustful desire for our own past. Throughout, Cody's dialogue beams with hilarious and loving honesty, especially when leaning into the mundanity of family life.
Above all, I don't remember the last time I saw a film so succinctly capture both the freedom and imprisonment of growing old and settling down. Even when the film takes turns toward incredulity, it always finds its way back, supremely interested in the mental state of people experiencing traumatic changes, all while staying as funny as it is potent. A supremely empathetic parental plea, Tully is exactly the crowd-pleasing respite we need in the Thanos-conquered cinema landscape.