Belfast Telegraph

Tully review: Charlize Theron on top form as overwhelmed mum

 

By Damon Smith

Mother doesn't know best - she is teetering on the precipice of a nervous breakdown in Jason Reitman's beautifully crafted and bittersweet portrait of modern parenthood.

Charlize Theron delivers a heartbreaking performance as a mother of three who is desperate to dodge the postnatal depression she suffered after the birth of her "quirky" second child, but is reluctant to ask for help.

Marlo (Theron) is poised to give birth and welcome a new life into the cluttered home she shares with her husband Drew (Ron Livingston), son Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica) and eight-year-old daughter Sarah (Lia Frankland).

Her wealthy brother Craig (Mark Duplass) is concerned that Marlo won't cope and offers to pay for a night nanny.

When the pressure becomes too much, Marlo calls the night nanny and 26-year-old Tully (Mackenzie Davis) arrives at the front door and immediately takes charge. "I'm like Saudi Arabia. I have an energy surplus," grins Tully as she bakes, cleans and nurtures while mere mortals sleep.

Marlo forges a close bond with her, and that friendship deepens when it becomes evident that Tully's expertise extends far beyond mewling newborns.

Four stars

I Feel Pretty review: Misfiring comedy isn’t worth the weight

Amy Schumer has brilliantly lampooned issues of self-esteem, femininity and suffocating convention in her TV sketch show and the hilarious 2015 film Trainwreck.

However, here she is at the mercy of a script which piles on misery and self-loathing in the opening hour until it becomes impossible to achieve redemption, even with Schumer working tirelessly to milk laughs from each set-up.

Renee Barrett (Schumer) works behind the scenes on a website for luxury cosmetics brand Lily LeClaire, which is run by CEO Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams) from the company's plush office on Fifth Avenue in New York.

By chance, a position for receptionist becomes vacant and Renee musters the courage to apply. She secures an interview because Avery has been advised by her grandmother Lily (Lauren Hutton) to broaden the demographic employed by the company so it better reflects the women who buy the products.

Shortly before her face-to-face with Avery, Renee hits her head during her spin cycle gym class and the sickening knock induces the applicant to see herself as magazine spread thin and beautiful.

To everyone else, she is the same Renee, except now she fizzes with self-confidence. Renee dazzles Avery, snags an adoring boyfriend called Ethan (Rory Scovel) and turns the head of Avery's handsome brother Grant (Tom Hopper).

Two stars

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