Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: Tully

“Overboard” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

“Tully” is about Marlo (Charlize Theron). Marlo is a miserable woman.

That’s not to say she isn’t sympathetic. As written by Diablo Cody, directed by Jason Reitman, and acted by Theron, we understand Marlo’s plight. On the surface everything seems great. She’s settled into suburban middle class life with her caring husband Drew (Ron Livingston). He just got a promotion that forces him to travel, but when he is home he does what he can to help out with their two kids, eight year old Emmy (Maddie Dixon-Poirier) and five year old Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica). Marlo is pregnant at the start of the movie and due any day. She’s raising a beautiful family in a cozy home in a safe neighborhood. What is there to be miserable about?

For starters, Jonah has emotional issues. When we first see Marlo and Jonah, she is brushing him. At first I thought the kid had a skin condition that required rigorous exfoliation, but come to find out the reason for the brushing is because it helps to relax Jonah. He goes into bouts of frenzied panic and frustration, screeching and yelling. It doesn’t help that he also constantly kicks the back seat as Marlo is trying to drive. His outbursts have caught the attention of the principal (Gameela Wright) of the private school Jonah and his sister attend. She thinks Jonah would be happier elsewhere, and says so in the most roundabout way possible.

Things only get worse for Marlo after the baby arrives. In addition to Jonah’s outbursts, she now has to deal with a baby crying in the back seat, not to mention keeping her up all hours of the night in need of breast milk. Drew is sympathetic and understanding, but there is only so much he can do since, as he correctly points out, he doesn’t have boobs.

Luckily for Marlo, her rich, douchey yet well-meaning brother Craig (Mark Duplass) has a solution: Hire a night nanny. This is exactly what it sounds like—a woman who comes at night to look after the baby while mommy gets some rest. The only time the nanny wakes the mom is if the baby needs to be breast fed. Even then, I couldn’t help but wonder why mommy just can’t prepare a bottle for the nanny so she doesn’t have to be woken up at all, but this question never comes up in the movie, so it isn’t answered.


To the rescue comes Tully (Mackenzie Davis), the night nanny who for some reason reminds me of a late ‘80s Joan Cusack on happy pills. She is perpetually upbeat and optimistic, full of the joy of life. In other words, she’s the perfect counter point to the decidedly downbeat and somewhat morose Marlo. In spite of this sharp contrast—or perhaps because of it—the two women hit it off and become fast friends.

Tully has a significant impact on Marlo’s life. The two have conversations that range from the trivial to the existential, and it’s interesting to watch these oil and water personalities interact with each other. Tully serves as a reminder to Marlo of what it is like to be young and carefree, while Marlo serves as an example to Tully of what a happy and stable life can be—minus the sullen attitude, of course. The women counsel, care for, and look after each other in a deep and meaningful way. Raw truths are spoken plainly. There is one scene that takes their care for each other a bit far and is shocking at best and off-putting at worst, but once all is said and done in “Tully” it makes sense and is less disgraceful in hindsight than it first appears. Thank goodness for that, too. Rent it.

Also New This Week


“Overboard” shares the plot of the 1987 Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn original, but with the gender roles reversed. Now it is the man, Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez), who is the spoiled brat and heir to a fortune, and the woman, Kate (Anna Faris), who gets mistreated by him. After Leonardo falls overboard from his yacht, he washes on shore with amnesia. Seeing the opportunity for payback, Kate tricks Leonardo into thinking that he is her husband and forces him to see how working stiffs live their lives.

The first 45 minutes or so of this movie are pretty unappealing. Leonardo is an awful rich snob and Kate--justified as she thinks she is--is a kidnapper and manipulator. It could even be argued that she’s a slave driver, given all of the chores she coerces him into doing. I’m probably supposed to sympathize with Kate and think that he deserves it, but no, her treatment of him is pretty bad. Making him sleep on a cot in the shed really sealed the deal in making me not particularly care for her either.

Then, as these movies do, the plot maneuvers so that Leonardo becomes a better man. He cares for Kate and her three daughters, he works hard at his construction job, and it becomes important to him to be a good husband, father, and provider. Kate has a crisis of conscience and the guilt of what she is doing starts to eat away at her, especially after Leonardo becomes such a great guy. This helped to soften my feelings toward the both of them so that as the plot goes through all of its predictable motions, I at least cared enough about them to see the foregone conclusion of their relationship come to fruition. There may be no major surprises in “Overboard,” but you certainly get what you expect and the characters earn their outcome. Stream it.

More New Releases: “Dark Crimes,” in which a murder investigation of a slain businessman turns to clues found in an author's book about an eerily similar crime, starring Jim Carrey and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Andrew Hudak is a lifelong film lover. His column on Blu-Ray new releases appears every Tuesday. He lives in Connecticut.

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