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Jerry Cutler On Film—The Trials Of A 40ish Suburban Housewife

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2018 – 3:48 PM

Tully tells the story of a suburban housewife Marlo (Charlize Theron) about to have another child … her third. We are introduced to her other two who are difficult to handle, as well as her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) who like so many other spouses, is unaware of the burden placed on their wives especially when the children are so close in age.

When her water breaks, Marlo is taken to the hospital by Drew. It’s the least he can do – as a matter of fact, it’s the least he does do. (Whoever did the prosthetic on Charlize’s stomach to make her appear pregnant must be a blimp builder as her tummy looks like she’s about to give birth to sextuplets.)

Now, as the mother of three demanding children, Marlo must change and feed the baby, plus prepare breakfast, make sure the other kids are presentable and take them to school. The scene is made up of fast, blurring cuts as Director Ivan Reitman emphasizes the frenzied, exhaustive preparation a 40ish mother of three youngsters goes through each weekday morning. His direction is right on as is the script written by his Juno collaborator, Diablo Cody, who injects laughter into the midst of the most distressful circumstances.

When a night nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis), a gift from her wealthy brother (Mark Duplass) appears as a vision at her front frosted-glass door, Marlo rejects her. The positive and assertive Tully talks her way in and Marlo’s life goes through an immediate change. Both actors are brilliant as the movie, taking on a new dimension, begins to soar as Tully brings order to the chaos.

One night Tully convinces Marlo to take her to Brooklyn for a night out and leave the kids with Drew. As they cross the bridge Marlo giddily points out her old neighborhood’s haunts to a receptive Tully. They party and drink as Marlo releases her anxieties to a receptive Tully.

Tully easily blends drama and comedy as Theron and Davis prove to be a formidable duo.

3 bagels and a schmear out of 4

Jerry Cutler, the Courier’s film critic, is rabbi at Creative Arts Temple.


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