Charlize Theron Wows in Brutally Honest Tully

Critics applaud her 'gutsy' performance as tired mom
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2018 10:46 AM CDT

An exhausted mother of three is convinced to hire a night nurse in Tully, from writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman, the same pair responsible for 2007's Juno. Tully, starring Charlize Theron, has an impressive 90% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. What they're saying:

  • Theron, who gained 50 pounds for the role of Marlo, delivers a "bold, gutsy, glamour-free performance"—her best since 2011's Young Adult, also from Cody and Reitman, writes Adam Graham at the Detroit News. Equally refreshing is the film itself. It's a "gloves-off comic-drama about the pressures and difficulties of motherhood … that is rare in its brutal honesty," Graham says.
  • Cody wrote the film after having her third child, "and the fact that this is such a personal story shines through from the very beginning," writes Christy Lemire at "It's at once intimately detailed and narratively ambitious. And it's surprisingly profound, sneaking up on you with understated yet wholly earned emotion by the end." Theron and Mackenzie Davis as Tully are both good, Lemire adds. "They have tremendous chemistry from the get-go."

  • But it's Theron who "holds the movie in her hands and gives it to us like a gift; one we accept with joy," writes Moira MacDonald at the Seattle Times. "Her Marlo, tough and smart and pushed nearly to the breaking point, is someone we know; maybe someone we were," she adds, calling the film an "ode to motherhood and tart reminder that it isn't all smiles and sunshine."
  • Tully "transforms itself from a garden-variety tale of harried parenthood into something stranger, more honest and even magical," writes Michael O'Sullivan at the Washington Post. While he doesn't give away how this happens—"it involves one of filmdom’s great bits of storytelling trickery"—he says "the choice is a bold and thrilling one."
(More movie review stories.)

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