Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Making a movie about a suffering mother who cannot admit that her tether has snapped is a brave endeavor"

Men have mid-life crises. Women have babies. Both represent the frontline in the battle for independence. A 21-year-old hip hop Lothario is not the suit-and-tie corporate drone in his forties and the sexy free spirit who shakes the loved up honey drippers to their randy core is not the exhausted mother of three failing to cope with post natal nihilism.

The promise of marriage, the belief in family, the illusion of a clean house in the 'burbs can be a dream too far for most people. Let's be honest. The woman takes it all, makes the home, makes the babies, makes the meals while the man has a job somewhere else which is freedom by another name.

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Making a movie about a suffering mother who cannot admit that her tether has snapped and she's balanced on the edge of breakdown is a brave endeavor by the standards of Hollywood that prefers happiness to despair. The situation is hardly box office. And so it proves.

Marlo (Charlize Theron) is heavy with child. She has two already, clever Emmy and impossible Jonah. Her husband is loyal, unexciting, decent and boring (instead of sex he plays video games in bed at night). She sees her life as a narrow tunnel leading towards the light, except she never reaches the light. When she looks back at her youth, beauty was a bonus and lovin' the music meant the whole nine yards, unfettered by responsibility.

And then came Tully.

In America, where every itch can be cashed, there is a service for those with newborns who are desperate for rest. You hire a night nanny who takes care of the baby until morning so that mummy can sleep. Marlo's brother gives her the use of one as a gift and the one in question happens to be Tully (Mackenzie Davis).

She's 26 and so positive you want to dance. Also, she is attractive with a warm wind blowing and always smiling. She loves her life, doing what she does, babies and everything. What about boyfriends? Lots! She has it all and Marlo should be sick with envy, but she's not. The two of them become friends.

Where is this movie going? That is the question. There is a twist at the end, but that's a long way off. What about the living with exhaustion, trying to survive a supercharged seven-year-old and responding to an inquisitive daughter ("What's wrong with your body, Mom?") and watching reality TV porn to substitute for the real thing?

Forget about Atomic Blonde and Mad Max: Fury Road this is the Theron of Monster, an actor of quality who followed the De Niro Raging Bull fat diet. For a pretty woman to sag herself into a role shows true grit. Pity the film doesn't match her.

Reviewed on: 02 May 2018
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The exhaustion of being a wife, mother and now having another baby is saved by a young, optimistic, attractive night nanny who loves everything, especially her job
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Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Diablo Cody

Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass, Elaine Tan, Asher Miles Fallica, Maddie Dixon-Poirier, Gameela Wright, Joshua Pak, Colleen Wheeler

Year: 2018

Runtime: 96 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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