2. Tully (2018)
As well as a bittersweet meditation on motherhood, Tully is a paean to the healing power of friendship. After the birth of her third child, forty-something mother Marlo (a dishevelled Charlize Theron) spirals into postnatal depression, barely summoning the energy to get dressed and serve her kids an E number-heavy diet of frozen pizzas. “Great moms organise class parties and casino night. They bake cupcakes that look like minions. All these things I’m just too tired to do,” she sighs. Enter Tully (Black Mirror‘s Mackenzie Davis), a 26-year-old night nurse, who arrives under the cloak of darkness to look after the newborn while Marlo sleeps.
Despite her initial reticence, Marlo comes to depend on her millennial fairy godmother. An intergenerational friendship blossoms between the two women, as they impart wisdoms on their differing lifestyles, whether headbanging to heavy metal in Bushwick or sipping homemade sangria in a suburban jacuzzi. The two characters are set up as foils to one another – since ‘Tully’ denotes both the title character and Marlo’s maiden name – in order to demonstrate the extent to which parenting has compromised Marlo’s carefree personality. Beyond its gritty explorations of identity, Tully fizzes with the bantering repartee we have come to expect from Diablo Cody (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno). In one expositional scene, Tully explains, “I’m here to look after your whole”, to which Marlo responds with a wry smile: “No one has looked after my hole for a long time.”