A brutally honest review
The hubs and I recently went out to watch the movie Tully.
I haven’t seen a movie, let alone go to the cinema for what feels like centuries, so it was a special outing.
I insisted we go – because after seeing the trailer (and it being from the makers of Juno, which I loved) I thought: here’s a movie for ME (for us!) for mothers of young children.
And it was. It’s a movie that delicately portrays a very raw, real – and painful – look at the challenges and stresses of modern day, western, middle class parenting.
I won’t spoil it for you – but ever so briefly – Marlo is a stay at home mom to two, no (*SURPRISE!*) – THREE little ones. She’s overwhelmed by the 5 C’s I often discuss here as the five C’s of Parental stress:
Her husband is a well meaning but generally absent guy – working all day and playing video games all night.
Her son is “quirky” (no one directly mentions that he may have special needs) and is being expelled from school.
Her house is a shrine to legos.
Her body hasn’t quite “bounced back”.
This all begins to change when she finally accepts a generous offer from her brother of a night nurse, named Tully… but what eventually emerges from the movie is a portrait of this modern motherhood as an experiment in losing one’s mind.
We (hubs and me) walked away from the movie feeling low. Feeling empathic towards Marlo and her fellow overwhelmed mamas, feeling disillusioned by the isolation, the lack of support and the emotional chaos mothers like Marlo are facing daily.
And I know this only too well because I, too, have been in her shoes. And so have thousands of members in our TPJ community here.
Here’s what I appreciated about Tully:
I loved the no bells-and-whistles portrayal of motherhood. It was no caricature. Marlo was so believable and Charlize Theron’s performance was raw and vulnerable.
I loved the empathic approach – we care about Marlo and understand her. We get glimpses of who she “used” to be before motherhood emptied her soul and character. The moments of humor and of joy interspersed among the postpartum aftermath.
I appreciated that this wasn’t a sarcastic or unkind portrayal. It felt real.
It still plays into the pain of parenthood – and doesn’t offer us a hopeful model to aspire to.
We walk away feeling like motherhood sucks and there’s no saving grace.
We’re left with the sense that marital disengagement, plump oozing bodies, frozen pizza, school dramas, messy homes, sleepless nights and a sense of emptiness is all there is in motherhood and we shouldn’t expect (no less create) more.
This is who parents always are on the silver screen: Fat, broke, mind-numbingly boring, forgetful, “uncool”, out-of-date, tired versions of themselves.
Just for once, I’d love to see a realistic portrayal of what parenting could be – a meaningful and powerful journey of growth.
- The opportunity to step into our best selves.
- Hollywood and media at large have cemented in our collective minds a mental model of parenting as victimhood, martyrdom and servitude. Neglecting to portray the other side or the alternatives to this model.via @ParentingJunkieTweet This
- The possibility of experiencing ourselves as powerful leaders, who embody a goddess like capacity to give life and love.
- The invitation to evolve and embrace a sense of abundance and radiance, for ourselves and our children.
- The impetus to do work we find fulfilling, meaningful and rewarding and pave that same path for our children.
- The drive to connect deeply in our marriages – and to provide our kids with a blueprint for a healthy partnerships in years to come.
Here’s the problem I have: Hollywood and media at large have cemented in our collective minds a mental model of parenting as victimhood, martyrdom and servitude. Neglecting to portray the other side or the alternatives to this model.
Thus we enter into parenting with these expectations and these become our self fulfilling prophecies.
My invitation to our community today is…
To become media savvy.
To note and reject every. single. time a movie, magazine or person in our lives makes the rude and incorrect assumption that we must be “suffering” or that we have our hands way too “full” or that it has to be so “hard”.
We’ll accept their empathy when we feel raw and vulnerable and we will share honestly when times are genuinely difficult.
But we will reject the idea that this is all that parenting can be. That there aren’t avenues we can take and choices we can make to love parenting and to parent from love.
Because there are, I know it, first hand.
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Have you seen the the movie Tully, or plan to? Do you feel that the media portrays parenting in a model of victimhood, martyrdom and servitude?
Comment with POWER! If you’re ready for a NEW and EMPOWERING portrayal of Parenting in the media.