Tully – Charlize Theron Shines as a Mom Visited by a Remarkable Nanny not Named Mary Poppins

Jason Reitman made his mark with several thoughtful films, including “Thank You for Smoking,” “Juno,” and “Up in the Air.” His dad Ivan helmed comedy blockbusters like “Ghostbusters,” “Stripes” and “Kindergarten Cop.”

In “Tully” Jason Reitman collaborated with again with Diablo Cody (she wrote “Juno”). The exploration of parental tensions, child rearing and input from a nanny sets the stage.

Charlize Theron and Ron Livingston play a couple with an unexpected third child on the way. Mackenzie Davis plays the titular nanny, who soon develops a supportive relationship with the overwhelmed mom. Indeed, the support extends to a three way with the couple.

The humor that Reitman has brought to his prior productions is a bit more sharply focused in “Tully,” which heightens the reality of the premise. Cody’s depiction of women continues to evolve admirably. Cody is able to write convincing dialogue that serves to not only flesh out the characters, but drive the narrative forward without too much exposition.

Rounding out the cast is Mark Duplass, last seen in “Creep” and one half of the brother production team behind the HBO television series “Togetherness.” It is Duplass who sets in motion the arrival of the nanny. But “Tully” is more than a modern day Mary Poppins, as the film deftly explores.

Parents will recognize more than a few of the tensions explored in the film. Theron is again excellent in the central role, and we are told she lost much of the weight she gained for the role.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.