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Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/31/2018
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/25/2018
As we haven't reached the point where robots and computers are paying to see movies, it stands to reason that Hollywood needs people to plop down their hard-earned cash at the box office. And, as we also haven't reached the point where humans can be successfully grown in a lab (as far as I know), Hollywood needs for individuals to create more people. However, there is a trend in movies to depict marriage, children, and families in general as awful things. If aliens were to watch movies, they would wonder why anyone would want to get married or have kids, but they are apparently the worst mistakes that anyone can make. Tully attempts to take a more realistic approach to parenthood and families, but does it paint a bleak picture as well?
Marlo (Charlize Theron) and Drew (Ron Livingston) are a couple who have a lot going on. They already have two young children, Sarah (Lia Frankland) and Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica), and a third is on the way. Jonah exhibits special needs, thus requiring special attention at home and at school. Marlo has started her maternity leave, but Drew is very busy with his job. Marlo's brother, Craig (Mark Duplass), who is quite well off, recommends that she hire a night nanny once the child is born. Marlo, who somewhat resents her brother's lifestyle, shuns this idea. However, once the baby is born and Marlo finds herself overwhelmed, she gives in and calls for the nanny. A spirited young woman named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) arrives and immediately creates a change in Marlo's world.
Tully marks the third pairing of Director Jason Reitman and Writer Diablo Cody. In the criminally overratedJuno, they explored the life of a teenaged girl and an unplanned pregnancy. Young Adult examined a single woman whose attitude and mid-life crisis permeated those around her. With Tully, they have taken the next step and bring marriage and family into focus. To its credit, the movie does try to present a realistic look at the life of a middle-class American family. Unlike a lot of Hollywood movies and show, which don't understand how a lot of American's live (I'm looking at you Modern Family), this film does know what a house should look like. However, the movie does push the drama a bit too far, as Marlo's experience with her third child is pretty extreme and Drew's response isn't very endearing.
On the surface, Tully appears to be a treatise on parenthood and modern life. However, Reitman and Cody are doing something a little different here. I won't into much detail, but the third act of Tully does go in a somewhat surprising direction. Along with the themes of children and relationships, the movie also asks questions about the direction ones life takes and how we end up where we do. As with the other themes in the movie, these are legitimate ideas which are ripe for addressing. The problem for some viewers will lie in how they are addressed. Some will like where things go in the end, while others may think that Reitman and Cody have strayed too far from the sort of gritty movies which have served them well in the past.
As with Young Adult, Tully is somewhat of a failed experiment. It tackles some serious issue, while also keeping a certain buoyant humor. Theron, who seemed out of place in their last film, does a good job of balancing drama with joy, as Marlo rides the emotional wave of having a newborn. Likewise, the rest of the cast is good as well. Livingston rarely gets the credit he deserves, and Davis brings a lot of energy to her unique role. The movie certainly shows that Reitman and Cody are maturing, and parents will find things here to which they can relate. But, the realism is a bit too real at times and not enough at others, resulting a film which will hold your attention and will you discussing the ending with your fellow viewers.
Tully made me feel like a great parent on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 32 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, and despite the fact that the picture is dark at times, the action is always visible. The level of detail is good and the depth works well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. There is a nightclub scene which provides some nice bass and surround sound effects. The stereo effects also work well, as they highlight sounds coming from off-screen. These effects does a nice job of bringing to life noises emanating from around the house.
The Tully Blu-ray Disc contains only one extra feature. "The Relationships of Tully" (10 minutes) has Theron, Cody, and Reitman (in separate interviews) discussing the themes and characters of the film. Each shares how they viewed the ideas of parenthood and relationships in the movie. There is also talk about some of the actors.
Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long