Tully

NB: includes SPOILERS!

Yesterday I watched the movie Tully. Today I opened my notebook to write a review on oudzeikwijf.com where the first thing I saw was my last poem The Angels. That could not coincide more.  Because Tully’s story is about your younger self who comes to the rescue in times of distress. A theme that has a cherished place in my inner world.

They appear
from time to time
the angels

One tells me of a fine place
for the dog
a field, a forest
Another says where to park the car
And sometimes it’s my younger self
who gives my future me
a pack of blank pages
to write on

They appear
when I need them
my angels

I gave Tully a 10 on Imdb. It’s exactly what I want in a movie. No male gaze, on the contrary. The women’s voice is rendered to perfection. Charlize Theron is astonishingly good at embodying an exhausted mother of 3, with a husband doing the bare minimum of the household chores. That embodying can be taken quite literally, as Charlize had to put tons of weight on and is shown throughout the movie with sagging boobs and ditto belly in unflattering worn through t shirts and jogging pants. Every women who has gone through pregnancy and the early weeks (months, years!) of an infant, will recognize the complete exhaustion she depicts, though she herself has never gave birth, as she adopted her two children.

For a large part of the story we follow her character Marlo through the last stages of pregnancy of her third child. She has to cope with an quite absent husband whose only contribution in the mountains of housework, when he comes home from work, is helping the children a bit with their homework before he goes and play video games in bed. The mother has to deal with the frequent tantrums of a psychologically challenged son of, say, 7. She occasionally loses it as she shouts at both the child and the school principal who wants to expel him. Basically, she drags herself through life, fitting yet again another same day to the string in a perpetuum mobile of brain killing routine.
Then her well to do brother suggests paying for a so called night nanny and gives his sister the number of the one his family had employed, to much satisfaction. After yet another couple of exhausting days, Marlo picks up the phone. Enters Tully.

We are left to ponder whether the aid comes as an angel or an imaginary friend. Anyway, the chemistry between the two women (the one woman) makes you question their relationship from the start: the level of intimacy is definitely not something you expect between two strangers. The acting of Mackenzie Davis measures up to Theron’s. Who doesn’t know what the movie is about definitely has to watch the movie twice. The first time you are surprised and perhaps a bit put off by Davis’ manners. The second time every bit of her communication with Theron falls into place. It is then that you are fully moved by it.

Because it is not like an employee would do. Nor one’s best friend. And not even one’s sister, mother or child. It is yourself. Understanding, complacency, run much deeper. This is the true help you normally never get. But Tully is also very young, and it must be refreshing to see yourself years ago, unchained and full of happy energy. As years go by, one forgets one has been like this. After my second viewing, I imagined my former self walking into the room. If I wasn’t yet overwhelmed by emotions, I sure was then.

“I love us” “I love us too” Is this already a cliché? If not it will definitely become one.

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