April 19, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C
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Animated

Sing

Here's a sweet tearjerker about animated vaudevillians trying to restore a theater.

Biopics

I, Tonya

An engrossing docudrama covers the life and times of one-time Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding.

Marshall

Thurgood Marshall was the first black man to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, and director Reginald Hudlin does him justice.

Drama

Baby Driver

Writer-director Edgar Wright's musical caper has bright, shining moments, but they fade.

All the Money in the World

Ridley Scott's retelling of the Italian kidnapping of John Paul Getty II elicits superb work from patriarch Christopher Plummer.

The Post

Steven Spielberg effectively brings Katherine Graham and the volatile Pentagon Papers era to light, but takes few chances.

Mudbound

Dee Rees' saga of white farmers eking out a living in the 1940s Mississippi Delta deserved greater acclaim.

The Square

Ruben Φstlund's ambitious satire ponders just how many real humans there are in this weird human race.

Thrillers

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Greek director Yorgis Lanthimos' psychological thriller borrows from both Greek tragedy and horror and emerges triumphant.

Red Sparrow

Francis Lawrence's spy thriller features a more famous Lawrence, but she never fully fits the role.




Date: 2018
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, Ron Livingston, Emily Haine, Elaine Tan

Tully

For starters, only Diablo Cody — specifically the Cody of "Juno" and "Young Adult" — could write this movie. It falls squarely under the category of fractured fairy tales, and thanks to Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis the fracturing makes for snappy if Tabasco laced domestic comedy.

Theron is Marlo, an overweight suburban mommy machine awaiting child number three and at wit's end. She does what she can but motherhood — add son Jonah's instabilities — couldn't further from bliss. Hubby is nice but no help. Marlo, no stranger to depression, is plus-sized unhappy.

Ah, but a rich brother bears if gift, a night nanny, if only Marlo will put aside serial killer fears and accept. She does so only grudgingly, and in comes Tully (Davis), 26, and a chipper version of Wonder Woman. She's swell with the kids, provides moral and practical support to Tully, and eventually plays sex "therapist' — to interesting results.

What Cody and director Jason Reitman (also of "Juno" and "Young Adult") do unsparingly well is to strip the Hallmark version of motherhood into a cross between a Dante bolgia and the Bates Motel. Sleeplessness is agony; breastfeeding (and assorted pumps) about as romantic as the smell of jet fuel. But what Marlo can't any longer handle, Tully can, making a backhanded argument for whether it's better to be fruitful and multiply or remain an alien-like 26 forever, on the outside mischievously looking in.

Theron loves playing against her diva grain. She's done serial killers and array of characters devoid of empathy. Here, she's a brilliant walking version of the Great War, mother, commander and battlefield casualty. Which puts her Marlo in awe of unbreakable pop-tart Tully. "You're convinced that you're this failure," Tully tells Marlo, "but you actually made your biggest dream come true."

Actually, though, dream-weaving isn't quite that easy. At one point, Marlo waxes nostalgic about her 20s. "But then your thirties come around the corner like a garbage truck at 5 a.m."

When Tully insists "girls heal," Marlo is having none of it: "No, we don't. We might look like we're all better, but if you look close, we're covered in concealer." In a movie that delivers its share of plot twists and wacky wit, the punch line is no joke.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
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