|Starring||Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass|
|Release||4 MAY (US) 4 MAY (UK) Certificate 15|
There was a life before all this arrested it, hinted at by a chance encounter with an ex-partner, who still lives in the Bushwick loft they used to share in a presumably hip and carefree past. The later entrance of Tully, a night nanny hired as a gift for a month by Marlo's brother so she can get some kip, provides respite but also a vicarious thrill. She's free-spirited and tells Marlo about her dating life, offering up a window into the past and the sense of a sexual danger that's been absent for a while.
Where this is all heading is fairly obvious but there's more in the journey than in the destination. While the steps are a bit contrived it's in the character choices you find most to enjoy: Cody delights in placing zingers in Marlo's mouth without resorting to the full takedowns of her targets (the head teacher; her too-perfect sister-in-law) you know she wants to launch into. Ron Livingston as the husband does essentially what he always does, but he's written as a man with his priorities a little out of whack, not an absentee or a lazy goof-off.
The fact that Theron put on weight for the role should be the least significant thing about it but that's not where we live: it marks it out (both in a film's build-up promotion and its execution) as something of heft. When male actors do this they're usually cheered for the risks to their health they're willing to endure for the sake of their craft, while rumours abound about their commitment and intense on-set behaviour; actresses are more thought of as shedding a layer of beauty in order to play a character "meaningfully". Again, this sort of thinking supposes that the rest of the time they're just titting about in pretty dresses playing frothy side-pieces. Charlize Theron is doing nothing of the kind, but there's a pattern: the roles for which she gets the most props are ones which involve shedding make-up, shaving her head or stacking on some timber. This says more about the film industry and commentariat than it does about her.