tully early buzz

Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman are something of an indie dream team. The duo’s first collaboration produced the sharply funny Juno, which became one of the most over-quoted films in the last decade, and helped catapult Cody and stars Ellen Page and Michael Cera to fame. While their second film together, the bleak and sardonic Young Adult, didn’t quite permeate pop culture like Juno, it established the duo’s easy, whip-smart rapport. Enter Tully, the third collaboration between Cody and Reitman starring Charlize Theron as a worn-out mother on the eve of giving birth to her third child. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to positive buzz, with many critics calling it the duo’s best collaboration yet.

Below, see some of the early buzz for Tully from the Sundance Film Festival.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore praised the film as a biting look at motherhood that balances its bleak outlook with moments of sheer humanity:

Eleven years after their breakthrough film Juno, Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman team up a third time for Tully, another sharp, funny and strange look at pregnancy and some of the less common challenges surrounding it. This time, we approach motherhood not from the perspective of a pregnant teen but of a mother of three (Charlize Theron) whose latest child might well be the end of her — if not for the arrival of the eponymous miracle nanny, played by Mackenzie Davis. Packed with more than a couple of possible feminist readings as regards the parenting/career/life question, the often very funny picture entertains while affording its characters their share of no-laughing-matter concerns.

Star Charlize Theron gives another career-best performance according to Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman, channeling a ferocity into her dejected parent character that we last saw in her iconic performance as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road:

Theron’s performance is fearless, emotionally raw, and physically intense, rippled with embattled waves of exhaustion and anger. After her infant daughter, Mia, is born, Marlo is still carrying her baby weight (the way that mothers in movies almost never do). But more than that she’s carrying the weight of the world. Theron gives a heroically unglamorous and knife-edged performance, lashing out in ways both big and small. She lets us see how doing so makes perfect sense for a woman who is starting to feel the act of giving life — and sustaining it — draining the life out of her.

While The Guardian‘s Amy Nicholson praised the film as “a marvellous movie about a struggling mother saved by a millennial Mary Poppins,” she criticized the film for its flat, on-the-nose third act:

Toward the end, the script can’t resist hitting its metaphors too hard, leading to a scene where Marlo drives an hour to pound on the door of her old loft while Tully yells that their adventure has already gone too far. Yet, despite a plot twist that falls flat, the otherwise light-fingered film leaves space for life in the margins.

The Mary Poppins metaphor comes up again in David Ehrlich’s Indiewire review, where he calls TullyDiablo Cody/Jason Reitman joint that’s funnier than Juno and almost as ruthlessly honest as Young Adult:

Think of it as Diablo Cody’s modern take on “Mary Poppins”: What it lacks in songs, it more than makes up for in sex scenes and Carly Rae Jepsen sing-alongs. Funnier than “Juno” and almost as ruthlessly honest as “Young Adult,” Cody’s third collaboration with director Jason Reitman is a razor-sharp movie about the trials of motherhood, and the clear and present danger of losing yourself once you start living for someone else.

On Twitter, critics also offered effusive praise for Mackenzie Davis’ star-making performance as the titular Tully. Others called it the best Reitman/Cody collaboration yet.

Tully is set to open in theaters on April 20, 2018. The film also stars Mark Duplass and Ron Livingston. Here is the plot synopsis from Sundance:

Marlo (Charlize Theron), a mother of three, including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). While at first hesitant to accept the extravagance, she comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis).

Academy Award–nominated director Jason Reitman returns to the Sundance Film Festival for the sixth time, having previously debuted four shorts and one feature at the Festival, while Academy Award–winning screenwriter Diablo Cody makes her Sundance Film Festival debut with Tully, a funny, moving, and insightful look at motherhood that features captivating performances by its two female leads.

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