Nannies in movies generally come in two flavors: magical fixers like Mary Poppins or insane stalkers who seek to usurp the position of mother. In director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody’s third collaboration, the eponymous Tully (Mackenzie Davis) falls somewhere in the middle. She’s a wise-beyond-her-years 20-something who spouts random facts and profound statements in equal turn (both delivered in Cody’s trademark crackling dialogue—although it’s a little more organic than the hyper-hip teen-speak of Juno). As a night nanny for Marlo (Charlize Theron), Tully cares for her infant daughter so she can get some sleep, but as the two women bond, there is the unsettling feeling that everything is headed off a cliff.
For a movie about motherhood, Tully is uncharacteristically tense and foreboding. Marlo must contend with postpartum depression, an unhelpful and often absent husband, and a young son with an undiagnosed developmental disorder. The film is an unflinching and often painful look into the realities of motherhood, and Theron delivers a fierce performance. She pulsates like a raw nerve, sharp and stinging but above all, in pain. Tully is worth seeing for her alone, but it’s also an important story, shining a light on a side of parenting we often try to ignore.
Should you see it? Yes, it’s an intriguing film with a powerful lead performance. —S.W.
Viewed at Marcus Ronnie’s Cine + IMAX