TULLY (2018)

Before knowing what Tully (2018) is about there are already many reasons why you need to see this film: It has Oscar winning Queen Charlize Theron (Young Adult, Mad Max: Fury Road, Snow White and the Huntsman) Directed by Oscar nominated Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult) and Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno). It also features Mackenzie Davis which is exciting because I saw her in a film called Breathe In (2013) which is a small film which not many people know about (I was excited to find that’s how Reitman knew about her) but since then she’s worked on incredible films like The Martian (2015) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017) so it’s exciting seeing her in a prominent role alongside the icon that is Theron.

By now you should be pre-ordering your tickets to see the film but now we have the facts out of the way I can tell you that the main theme of Tully centres on motherhood. Charlize Theron gives a committed performance of a mother who is about to welcome her third child and her brother offers to pay for a Night Nurse to look after her newborn during the evening.


I’ll explain towards the end of the article why this film moved me in a powerful way (don’t worry, I’ll warn you when the spoilers appear) but it basically confirms that no matter what the central theme is there is still something that everyone can relate to and that for me is when film can be at its most powerful.

It’s funny because I know that I have an eclectic film taste and have written many blog posts stating my favourite films and my love for foreign language films yet people still think I only watch Disney and U Rated films. So just to clear up those misconceptions I love watching films that tell stories from different walks of life so it can allow me to have a broader sense of life and step outside of the bubble of my own life and understand humanity just a little bit more. Obviously I’m not a mother, I’m not even a parent but I loved watching Tully just to have an insight to see what women really have to deal with when looking after children and understanding the pressures that society can put on them but also the beauty that comes with creating life. I have a sister who is a mother, obviously I’m not with her all the time but I have an inkling of what she has to go through and the strength that is found in motherhood.


Charlize Theron in Young Adult (2011)

Also I loved what Reitman/Cody/Theron did on Young Adult so I knew Tully would be a great watch; they didn’t try too hard to push an idea but it’s very organic and natural and yet so deeply profound. When I was watching Tully I was thinking about how society can be so hard on us but also how hard we can be on ourselves trying to live up to a certain standard. There’s a scene where Marlo (Theron) orders a decaf and another customer calls her out by saying there’s still traces of caffeine in the mugs, to which Marlo ignores (much to the customers disgust) or when Marlo screams outside of the car after a frustrating meeting with her sons teacher. Marlo loves her children and her husband but we see her at a point in her life where it’s getting too much for her and the film also deals with our identity, who was Marlo before she had children and is she still the same person and if not is that ok?

This is when Tully (Mackenzie Davis) comes in. A Vibrant, youthful and forthright woman who is like a saviour for Marlo coming into her life and taking some of the load off her so that she can have a good night sleep and have some energy back. It’s a beautiful friendship that unfolds on the screen and not only does Tully inject some of that joy back into Marlo’s life but also Marlo cautions Tully of what time can do to a person. Both Davis and Theron work brilliantly together and their performances are so authentic which felt refreshing.


Now here we come to the SPOILERS (Spoilers will be in ITALICS)

I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of how the film would play out but I was not ready for what was to come. So Tully takes Marlo out for some drinks and as they’re driving home they end up in an accident. Marlo wakes up in hospital and the doctor asks her husband if Marlo has suffered from mental illness in the past and then the twist that I was NOT EXPECTING happened: the doctor explained that Marlo was severely sleep deprived and as the audience we realise that Tully was not real…but a figment of Marlo’s imagination (her younger self coming back to help Marlo as Marlo’s maiden name was Tully) and I nearly cried. I wasn’t ready or expecting how emotionally impacted I would be by this Fight Club (1999) style of ending and I’ve reflected since to find out why because I’m only 24 and not a parent that has lived life but I remember just feeling true empathy for Marlo that all this time she was truly alone and basically was trying to figure out who she was and who she has become and what time can do to us. Tully comes back in the hospital room saying she has to go and Marlo agrees and the look on Mackenzie’s face in knowing she has to go is heartbreaking I could have cried again. It was very emotional but also in a good way because at the end Marlo is looking happier, with more energy and as Tully says before has gotten Marlo through the danger zone of looking after a newborn baby. Marlo is happy with who she has become and that’s a beautiful thing to see on screen. If I’m not making sense it’s because I’m still emotional thinking about it all. 



The meaning of the ending and how that helps you see the film in a different light is probably for another blog post as I thought it was incredible and totally different to what I was expecting, but basically what I loved about this film was how accessible it actually was. Everyone should give this film a chance, not just because of the incredible talent in front and behind the screen (though that is a main factor) but it can create conversation about our progress in life, who we were and who we have become and it’s always welcome to see an original film come to our screens.



Breathe In (2013)

It’s no secret that I think Felicity Jones is kind of a big deal. I recently saw her in The Theory of Everything which earned her an Oscar nomination. Jones plays the ex-wife of Steven Hawkings and does an incredible job, showing vulnerability and strength to her performance. However my favourite role of hers is in the 2011 indie hit Like Crazy, it’s such a beautiful and intimate film which feels very natural and heartfelt.

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Now I had heard of Breathe In before but never got the chance to watch it. However, if I’m serious about my admiration for Jones (except I will never watch Chalet Girl) I had to watch Breath In, which also co stars Guy Pearce. The film was directed by Drake Doremus, who also made Like Crazy and reunites with Jones for a far more sombre affair (no puns intended). Jones stars as a young British student Sophie, who forms a close attachment to Keith Reynolds, played by Guy Pearce.

Drake Doremus is known for his “blank canvas” approach to filmmaking. He would give the actors a detailed description of the the scene setting and allow the actors to improvise. Felicity Jones states that it was slightly more poised and constructed than Like Crazy but had a very similar vibe whilst filming. You can definitely feel an authenticity in the performances and that’s what I love about Felicity Jones, there’s a hardness yet a softness. She knows to to rein it in yet express herself.

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Felicity Jones also describes Breath In as having a classical feel. This is conveyed by not only the beautiful cinematography, but the soundtrack. The album features the film’s original score composed by Dustin O’Halloran, who previously collaborated with the director on Like Crazy. It is a soothing piece of music drenched in melancholy. The soft piano sounds perfectly reflect the characters emotions and compliment the lovely blue colour scheme of the film. Sometimes the characters don’t need to say anything, the music and the locations say the rest. It’s almost as if they’re other characters in the film.

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In all honesty, Like Crazy is my favourite film out of the two. There was a raw and stripped back approach with substance and compelling characters. The thing that lets Breathe In down slightly, is that lack of plot. Not a lot happens in the film, it’s a slow burner. But I understand what the director was going for, more emotion and character over plot. In that case it works, but even then I felt like I needed a bit more from the film. Even the ending is quite underwhelming, but honest. Where as with Like Crazy there was more to get from the film.

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Breathe In is an interesting film to analyse. On one hand yes, it is about an affair, but it’s not as cliched as it sounds nor does it overdramatise it. You understand the attraction to each other, without condoning it, but the way it’s dealt with is quite refreshing. I don’t want to give too much away but basically, actions have consequences.

Guy Pearce plays an aspiring musician who uses his talents to teach a High School music class. Yet Megan Reynolds (Amy Ryan) is less supportive of his dream to gain the chair of an orchestra and move to New York. Pearce blames having a child so soon cut their care free life short which resorted them to suburban life. In all honesty, I see the wife’s point. Teaching is a respectable job and where they live is beautiful. They seem to be a fairly happy family and are well liked by friends and locals.

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But when Sophie (Felicity Jones) comes along, who shares a passion for music, the dynamic of the Reynolds family changes. Sophie is an enigmatic character, a character hard to read at first. She’s a mature soul who seems to have lost a zest for life, unsure of herself and almost like she’s lost a spark of passion for her music. Yet throughout the film we discover she feels she wants to feel free and is unsure of who to perform her music for. She wants to chose to play, not be told to play. Felicity Jones perfectly conveys all these conflicted emotions that Sophie feels. There is a freshness and conviction in Felicity Jones’ performance, that keeps you watching waiting to see what she unfolds with her character.

This is a little gem in the filmography of Felicity Jones, a one which many people may have not seen. But I advise you to check it out and form an opinion yourself. It lacks substance but is a beautiful film that features great performances fro Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce. Drake Doremus’ filmmaking style is felt on film, creating an intimate and organic feel. But more importantly, you have to watch Like Crazy.

Felicity Jones can currently be seen in the Oscar nominated biopic The Theory of Everything. She can do no wrong.