Tully ★★★★

Tully is kind of strange one, although not for the most part; it's just that, there's a particular curveball of a story development that comes near the end of its (mostly) straightforward, ultra-domesticated, slice-of-life narrative that's rather unexpected, especially coming in this kind of a film, one that's never particularly telegraphed, either in the marketing or by the film itself, although... it isn't really what I'd call the good kind of unexpected, as this development didn't add much to my appreciation of the film, just serves to make a point that, in context, is rather redundant, and just seems to be a pointless distraction in the grand scheme of things.

It's a minor shame, as, besides that one odd element, Tully is quite a good testament to the migraine-inducing, often-underappreciated rigors of middle class financial struggles, maintaining a decent marriage, and of course, parenting, particularly young motherhood, with Charlize Theron putting in an extremely unglamorous, emimently real performance as Marlo, a perpetually put-upon mother of three who seems about to crack underneath her myriad daily stresses, until she finds an unexpected savior in an odd, but almost unbelievably kind and helpful nanny named, of course, "Tully". The two serve the film's backbone, as Diablo Cody's writing renders their relationship (and everyone else, for that matter) in relatable, character-insightful, and consistently emphathic terms, never resorting to easy scapegoating or strawmanning of any the flawed, everyday people who inhabit the film, and placing emphasis on a refreshingly dramatic overall tone, one that goes light on the quirk (although the dialogue is occasionally unnaturally snappy and heavy on the pop culture references, but not overly so). It's not the kind of film that seems to scream at you to go see it on the big screen like the latest Star Wars or Marvel blockbuster, but I still have to say that I'm fairly glad I did anyway.