Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Film: 'Tully'

This held out some promise and, to an extent, it was fulfilled. However there were one or two mis-steps that jarred with me, plus a very short scene which went against the spirit of the rest of the film, leaving an unpleasant after-taste. More of that in a mo.

Shot in New York, state and city, Charlize Theron - here showing once more what an exceptional actress she is - is just days away from giving birth to her third child, this one unplanned. She already has her hands full with the present two, one of whom, the boy, has behavioural problems both at home and at school where his conduct is disrupting the class. To her resentment, it's suggested that in his own interest he ought to be educated in an institution for children with special needs. So the last thing she feels she can cope with right at the moment is yet another one demanding all the extra care needed for a new-born baby. Her dutiful husband (Ron Livingston) keeps his distance, travelling to his daily work and not interfering much with domestic chores when he returns, and she seems suited to that, but the routine now of having a baby and giving it the attention it needs is seriously wearing her down, with physical and mental exhaustion written all over her face and demeanour. Before the birth her well-meaning 'New Age conscious' brother (Mark Duplass) and his wife had suggested she might consider hiring a 'night-nanny' to look after the baby while she slept, giving her the chance to take some much-needed rest. While dismissing the notion at first (an idea she'd not heard of), she keeps the card - and, of course, before very long is ringing the number. 
Then in walks........a young, smiley, perky, inquisitive Tully (Mackenzie Davis - yes, the name is female though I'd assumed it was the husband actor's name. I see she did also appear in 'Blade Runner 2049'). After the mother's initial wariness and all the questions (despite Tully giving little away of herself), a bond grows between the two women, Tully taking perfect care of the baby with no complaints in either direction. Hubby is quite satisfied with the arrangement too.
But then there's a small sequence where the two women decide to play a little trick on the husband which I thought didn't fit in with the film's direction, in fact it was rather mean. If they'd been drinking then their action might have been, if not forgivable, at least a bit more understandable, but they hadn't. There is, incidentally, no indication that the affections of either wife or husband had wandered elsewhere. And then after this, after the briefest of mentions, the subject isn't raised again - which struck me as odd. (Did something disappear in the editing? Or perhaps I'm making too much of the incident).

It would be unfair to say whether or not the women's friendship continues all through the film, but there is another potentially catastrophic incident involving both of them towards the end. The trouble is, where I don't normally in the least mind being left with loose ends at a film's conclusion, this one left me as though waiting for the next instalment, there was so much still to be resolved. 
Another dubious point is that there are a couple of cheesy touches which are indulged in, which I could have done without, they not bringing any added salient material to the content - and there is one background song played, something which gets my goat in films every time - though this was especially puzzling in being, of all interpolations, the title song to 'You Only Live Twice'! (not sung here by Nancy Sinatra!)

Jason Reitman ('Juno', 'Up in the Air') does the directing honours and he performs serviceably with this quite unusual story. But the film belongs to Charlize Theron, whose presence both pre- and post-natal is nothing less than formidable....................6.
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10 comments:

  1. Strange little film. I went yesterday. I was so pissed off with the fact I had seen it that I couldn't even write about it. Then I saw "Genre: Comedy" when I looked the film up on line last night and I was even more pissed off. I know Americans have not got a British sense of humour but if this was a comedy then I'm the Queen of Sheba. The twist at the end was just plain pathetic.

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    1. A comedy? Then all I can say is that I missed THE joke!
      However, I didn't feel the depth of dislike that you clearly did, Rachel. I thought it did have potential, but this was only fractionally realised. I can't honestly recommend it, though.

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    2. I was enjoying it as a light, non-contentious film but it suddenly went off the rails with the waitress outfit and from then it was downhill all the way for me. It seemed almost like a different film and didn't work for me. Enjoyable enough but I am worth better things than a film like Tully is how I feel.

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    3. I assume the playing of You Only Live Twice was an unsubtle link to the final twist.

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    4. I've been thinking hard about the relevance of that song, Rachel, and your assumption is better than anything that I could come up with. But if it is indeed a reference to the ending, how pedestrian! - and unnecessary!

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  2. Theron can be so good, but does make some questionable film choices. I'd like to see this one.

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    Replies
    1. Fans of Ms Theron will in no way be disappointed by her performance here, Bob. It's the only sure reason for seeing the film.

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  3. While I like Reitman, I have zero interest in seeing this movie.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure that there are better things around where you are, B.

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  4. megashare9.me - Tully is much more than it appears to be from the outside. For those like myself who do not understand the difficulty, frustration and sometimes depression of motherhood this movie provides a very real and sometimes uncomfortable look at it. There are enough moments of comedy relief to keep your spirits lifted for most of the movie and an unexpected twist ending that ties up some of the questions you'll have throughout the movie. Charlize Theron gives a solid performance with sides of her you never thought you would see, both physically and emotionally. Overall, definitely worth the short hour and a half you dedicate to the movie.
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