* * * ½ (Joyce)
* * * (Don)
(Poignant, post-postpartum plot)
Charlize Theron stars as Marlo, an overwhelmed, depressed, pregnant mother of two facing all of the challenges of two demanding children, a clueless husband and a soon-to-be third child to care for. Marlo's wealthy brother hires a "Night Nanny" (Mackensie Davis) to lighten her load and allow her to get some much-needed sleep. Reluctant at first, Marlo soon bonds with Tully and learns more about coping and caring for herself from the wise young woman.
While the movie emphasizes many of the negatives in being a mother of three young children, one described as "quirky,” and a caring but clueless husband, there is some humor, especially in Marlo's glib responses to her situation and the educators, relatives and friends who just don't get it.
It is only natural that Joyce, and other women who have been in Marlo's situation, will react differently to the movie than we clueless men. But there is more to the movie than pre- and postpartum problems. This is also a story about two women who are different in age and experience, who closely bond and develop a special relationship.
Director Jason Reitman uses the image of a mermaid coming to rescue Tully, an image that plays out in a strange, ethereal ending that is in sharp contrast to the realities of the modern world of motherhood.
"Tully" is a movie that will make you think and give husbands and wives, especially those with small children, much to talk about. It may even open some eyes to the reality of postpartum depression.
Rated R because of profanity, some nudity and sexual overtones.