A layered glance, a series of domestic, yet vaguely dysphoric, vignettes, a minimal, yet evocative, use of titles, and a faint, yet titillating, tremor on the end of the letter “y”. This trailer, with its atmospheric glimpses of suburban purgatory and matriarchal ambivalence, its spare soundtrack and its almost total lack of exposition, is truly a sight to behold in a “park” chock full of trailers that try to cram a film’s whole Wikipedia page into their two-minute runtime.
We last saw Charlize Theron kicking butt on both sides of the Berlin wall in this past summer’s Atomic Blonde. Now, she’s Marlo, a breast-pumping, night-feeding mom of multiple tinies, who drops her phone on her infant and heats up a frozen pizza for dinner. The stoic, yet almost seething intensity of her exhaustion with motherhood is immediately palpable. So few hecks do she give, she’s left piles of legos ALL OVER the floor — and have you ever stepped on one of those things? That carpet may as well be covered with shards of glass!
Then, right at the end, we meet the titular Tully: The luminous Mackenzie Davis, who you may have seen as one: Mariette in Blade Runner 2049, engaging in an unsettling power struggle with a hologram, or two: The star of “San Junipero” (also known as the most “I’m not crying! You’re crying!” episode of Black Mirror to date), melting all of our collective hearts with her vintage normcore wardrobe and her shy passion. It’s going to be so, so satisfying to see her share the screen with the charismatic, chameleonic Theron. Just watching them exchange eye contact is a thrill!
In a way, Tully brings the themes of Juno, director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody’s first project together, full circle: The latter is about a pregnant and precocious teen who forms an unlikely bond with her unborn child’s adoptive mother, and the former is about a struggling mom-to-be’s relationship with a young(er), offbeat babysitter. Both are stories of (white) womanhood that gently poke at the tender intersections of age, class, and fertility while privileging femme solidarity instead of centring relationships with men.
Oh yeah, the men! Tully stars two loveable slacker kings — Mark Duplass, of The Mindy Project and mumblecore, and Ron Livingston, from cult neoclassic Office Space — as Marlo’s brother and partner. Livingston is the only one who appears in the trailer, however, and his only exchange with Theron, well…it’s a masterclass in saying a lot by saying very little.
Tully will be in theatres beginning April 20, so you have plenty of time to plan your Juno/Young Adult double feature night to prepare! Watch this space, because we’ll be all over any new Tully trailers like those dang legos are all over the floor.
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