“Girl’s heal.” This is the line that hit me. This statement made by the free-spirited night nanny in Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman’s latest film, Tully, had me thinking, “But do they really? Do girls truly heal?”
According to the main character Marlo (Charlize Theron), a tired struggling mother of three, we don’t. She told the young night nanny, Tully (Mackenzie Davis), “We might look like we’re all better, but if you look close, we’re covered in concealer.”
I’m not a mother. I don’t know what it’s like to birth a child or to parent one. All I do know is that motherhood is a complex experience that’s constantly scrutinized by men and women alike. It’s an experience that no one can truly understand until they’ve gone through it.
From watching my own mother, I know that parenting has its ups and downs and that life doesn’t always go the way you want it. With this in mind, it’s easy to empathize with Marlo. She’s a scarred woman who’s trying to find meaning in her suburban family life. A life so different from the one she lived prior to marriage and children. A life spent with a woman she loved so much. A woman she chose to leave.
Tully is an unfiltered tragic comedy that explores themes of both motherhood and womanhood. It questions the security and the comfort of being a part of a nuclear family, and it spotlights the struggles women face as they grow into their roles as both adults trying to navigate the world and mothers trying to navigate parenthood.
By the end of the film, we are left to wonder if it’s truly possible to heal from past trauma and/or postpartum depression and if it’s even possible to be happy and to move forward even when we are still carrying scars.
The answer is unclear. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe these are the kinds of questions that we need to decide for ourselves.