Every mom needs an escape.
Screenwriter Diablo Cody won an Oscar for her debut screenplay for "Juno", directed by Jason Reitman, and firmly established her unique voice - sarcastic, smart and referential, a singular blend of self-deprecation and superiority.
The slog of motherhood is memorably laid bare by clever writing and the fearless honesty of Theron's performance. I'm just not that good. Not that I'm method, but the physical part, maybe it goes back to being a dancer most of my life.
Charlize Theron, who delivered the barbs of "Young Adult" with such flair, completes the artistic trifecta with Reitman and Cody once again in "Tully", playing Marlo, the heavily pregnant mother of two just trying to get through the day intact.
Things are anything but ideal for Marlo, whose struggle to maintain a middle-class life only makes her wealthy, judgmental brother, Craig (Mark Duplass), more annoying. But in a cleverly orchestrated sequence, we watch her slowly wilt as a gruelling regime of school runs, night feeds, milk-expressing and general sleeplessness reduces her to a quivering wreck. "Me gaining weight for the movie - it's hard when somebody's like, 'Wow, that's really fearless!' Moms do this all the time and we don't call them courageous". Initially, Marlo resents the hell out of this gesture, which she views as a slur on her motherhood, so she shuns the gift and tries to go it alone.
She adds that Reitman would just position her on set where he wanted her, and "I was just [Marlo]". But when August arrived, "you're doing the same thing, and on top of that, you have to be a real person to this (other) little human who can talk and is expecting things from you". It would be hard for me to be like, "oh, I'll just pretend". Producing became something I liked. "I'm like Saudi Arabia", Tully says "I have an energy surplus".
Happy might be pushing it - Tully is aiming for an unvarnished portrait of family life - but Marlo and her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) have a solid marriage, the foundations of which are about to sorely tested by the arrival of their unplanned third child.
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Not only did the Monster Oscar victor struggle with her latest physical transformation, it also affected her emotional health.
Charlize Theron's Marlo is a woman under siege. "I like having that moment at the end of the day (of shooting) when you change in your trailer, get in your auto, go home and you're you".
"I was bawling my eyes out every day saying, 'This is the most attractive love I have ever witnessed in my life'".
But the Mary Poppins-like character's abrupt announcement that it's time for her to move on threatens to bring her employer's world crashing down around her head.
"A lot of people are making a big deal because I gained all this weight for the film and (saying) how "brave" that is, and I'm like, 'Do you know that mums do this every day and nobody calls them fearless?'". "I have the utmost respect for moms and we don't give moms enough credit". Maritz has also informed Theron's own mommy mantra: "Tomorrow's a new day".
The film explores the taboo of modern culture around the idea of "hired help" - Jonah's classroom aide, Marlo's favorite show "Gigolos".