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See how the mother half lives

"Tully" reunites the "Juno" and "Young Adult" team of director Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, in what feels very much like a spiritual heir to those movies, just advancing its surly, stressed-out protagonist from those awkward teen years to the exhaustion and depression associated with having a third child.

Theron delivers a knockout performance as Marlo, who is not only struggling with the demands on her time but the added concern that comes from having a child with a behavioral issue. (They insist on referring to him as "quirky" and "out of the box," which doesn't make the tantrums any easier to handle.)

Getting along with marginal help from her husband (Ron Livingston), Marlo receives an offer from her wealthy brother (Mark Duplass) to retain a night nanny, allowing her to get some rest. Resistant at first, she eventually relents, forging an unexpected bond with Tully ("Halt and Catch Fire's" Mackenzie Davis), a free-spirited 20-something who brings a bit of Mary Poppins-like wisdom into the household.

Although the movie has an indie-film sensibility, there's something widely relatable about the pressures associated with parenting, as well as Marlo's hinted-at longings for the freedom she left behind, spurred by a chance encounter with an old friend. Notably, this is a movie without a bad guy, where the tension emanates from the real-feeling challenge of juggling more responsibility than one harried mom can bear alone.

"I'm here to take care of you," Tully tells her, a line whose seductive power is magnified by just how at her wits end Marlo feels.

For those with an appetite for an early-summer movie with heart, but no costumes, "Tully" will take care of them, too.

Courtesy: Brian Lowry, CNN

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Directed by: 
Jason Reitman
Running Time: 
Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass
Official site: 
Screenplay by: 
Diablo Cody

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