Theron connects with role in Tully

Charlize Theron in

For Charlize Theron, acting means going beyond the script.

Not since her 2003 well-deserved Oscar-winning performance as real life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster" has Theron - one of the most handsome women on the planet - thoroughly committed herself to playing a character who most people would not consider to be highly desirable. All of which this latest collaboration between writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman nails with harrowing accuracy. The bravery is often embodied by Marlo, who holds on to her sense of humor when life gives her reason not to - her "career" is now a job she holds for health insurance, she's bunking with a husband (Ron Livingston) who prefers Call of Duty to the call of the wild, a son whose on-the-spectrum tantrums (kicking the seat and screaming while she puts her hand over her ears) sometimes leave Marlo on the side of the road, in tears.

Though Drew seems oblivious to this and pats his kids on the head after he comes in from work before disappearing upstairs to play computer games, Marlo is becoming dangerously depressed. "That period, especially the first couple of months, is so all-consuming that you have these small moments where you realise how far you have pushed yourself aside just to make sure this little thing stays alive".

A mother of two toddlers with another about to be born, Marlo (Theron) is stressed out to the point of totally loosing it. Marlo's son Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica) is easily upset by nearly everything and is probably autistic or something very close to it. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.

"'Tully" turns out to be a twofer. This is a Diablo Cody script, after all. "As a location, we want (the depiction of motherhood) to be accurate in the same way that I think James Cameron would want the Titanic to look accurate". It's unusual - it feels like she's been somewhat clairvoyant in always picking a subject matter that both Jason and I are really interested in exploring. "You kind of have to say goodbye to your childhood". We only rarely see movies that deal with the hard, complicated realities of motherhood - with the physical, emotional and psychological impact that it has on women's bodies and minds - and we have never seen a movie about motherhood like this one.

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Theron is no stranger to the art of physical transformation.

Theron plays Marlo, who has two other children, and is having a tough time of it all.

The two female care-givers grow close in record time and while this is a welcomed alternative to the frequently competitive and catty character behavior found in films with dual or multiple female lead characters, too much of it ends up dulling the narrative's otherwise edgy premise. If you're a parent, get a sitter.

From the morning rituals that need to be done with a special needs child, cooking a frozen pizza for dinner because you're too exhausted to make a meal, and even accidentally dropping your phone on your baby while getting in the auto, "Tully" doesn't hold back on anything and delivers a powerful story. And it's a relationship that's very different from the relationship that I have with my kids. "I have the utmost respect for moms and we don't give moms enough credit". Marlo, physically wrung out by childbirth - Theron gained a visible 50 pounds for the role - regards Tully's flat midriff and carefree attitude with a complicated mix of fondness, bitterness and suspicion. There is no friction but as we are soon to find out, it was probably a deliberate stall move on Cody's part. I wish it was there 20 years ago when I started. I know this from personal experience because, growing up, my mom told me every single day. They might have families that they have to feed, and the fear of being replaced makes it not a choice. Depression hit me in the face the way postpartum [depression] hits women in the face.

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