Runtime 95 minutes
One of the many things I loathe about all those superhero movies is that you learn absolutely nothing from them. Here is a film that is entertaining and educational; at least it was for me.
I have never been a mother. My assistant, who accompanied me to the film, has, however, with five children. She said her experience was nothing like what Marlo (Charlize Theron) goes through onscreen. The first half hour is excruciating to watch as her life just seems to be unendingly hard, full of responsibility. And just because my assistant didn’t experience this (and she had some pretty hard things to overcome) doesn’t mean that it is not a reflection of what can happen in real life.
Theron is a remarkable actress; drama, comedy, thriller, you name it, she can do it. As far as I’m concerned, this performance equals or exceeds any she has given, including her Oscar-winning performance in Monster (2003). She goes the extra mile, gaining more than 50 lbs. for Monster, and she gained 50 lbs. again for this role.
When we meet her she is nine months pregnant and a mother of a young daughter, Emmy (Maddie Dixon-Piorier), and a 5-year-old special needs son, Jonah (Ashe Miles Falica). Dealing with these and her pregnancy, the film shows the truth of Jean Little’s adage, “A man works from sun to sun; a woman’s work is never done.”
The birth of her child adds to what already is shown to be Marlo’s almost overwhelming burden. As a birth gift, however, her highly successful brother, Craig (Duplass), has paid for her to have access to a “night nanny,” a woman who will care for a newborn during the night giving the mother a respite.
When the nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis), arrives, she almost instantly becomes a lot more than just a woman to care for a child overnight. Despite her youth (10 years younger than Marlo), she seems a font of common sense and practical knowledge heretofore unappreciated by Marlo, a breath of fresh air that changes her life.
After what seems like an interesting, entertaining, well above average dramedy, a reveal in the last moments causes one to wonder if something metaphysical has been going on here.