Tully film review: Diablo Cody's Young Adult follow-up sees Charlize Theron on blistering form

James Luxford

There are few things that are certain in Hollywood, but you can at least rely on Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman to produce something memorable. The writer/directors behind Oscar winning Juno and 2011’s Young Adult reunite for another comedy-drama about parenthood, and it lives up to the hype.

Young Adult star Charlize Theron once again takes centre stage, gaining three and a half stone to play Marlo, an overwhelmed mother of three who’s given help both as a parent and a person by mysterious and insightful night-nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis).

Theron gets her hands thoroughly dirty with her frank and funny portrayal of motherhood. Marlo is filled with anxiety, and even the hardest of hearts will fill with sympathy as she struggles to keep up with energetic kids, a checked-out husband, and her sense of self-identity.

Her performance, combined with Cody’s script and Reitman’s direction, produces moments of real magic. The talent behind the camera creates a harsh, judgemental world filled with stern teachers and trendy relatives, all seemingly designed to highlight Marlo’s insecurities as a mother.

But while perpetually on the brink of collapse, there’s an inner strength to Marlo, a love for her life and kids that transcends the thankless chaos that surrounds her. This message will surely resonate with anyone who’s ever had to change a nappy.

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