Tully explores quite a bit about the emotional and physical toll a newborn can take on a mother. It also shows how much mental health is improved when someone is there to help, as the night nanny demonstrates. But the thing about Charlize Theron’s character, Marlo, is that she stated she suffered from depression since around the time her second child, Jonah was born. There are numerous other signs throughout the film that indicate the people behind this project intended for him to have autism.
The first sign is in the opening scene, when Marlo starts her routine of scrubbing Jonah’s body as if he were a horse. She takes a brush, turns on some music, and scrubs his arms, legs, and back, because it calms him. This is not uncommon with autism, many children on the spectrum have found peculiar ways to calm their overloading senses. In my own experience, when I was little, I rocked back and forth in my bed every night to help me get to sleep and would run around the living room while verbalizing some fantasized story I was coming up with as a way of letting out my imagination. It goes on for many others in similar cases, some rock in their seats, some spin on the swing set real fast, some step into a hug machine, if you met a child with autism, odds are he or she has discovered an odd way of calming down.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #38: They Dislike Not Getting Their Way.
Also, rather early into the film, Marlo has a meeting with Jonah’s teacher, who tells her that because he is different from the other students, he’s best suited for a special school for more kids like him. This gets Marlo very upset, possibly because she wants her son to be treated like any other child and is in denial that he could have a developmental disorder.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #33: One Doesn’t Believe He Has ASD.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #55: School Options for the Elementary Years.
But she and her son do eventually tour a potential “special school” for him to attend, and when he goes to their bathroom, the sound of the toilet flushing causes him to cry.
Six-Word lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome, Lesson #62: Loud to You, Painful to Me.
But the most depressing part about this movie is the fact that Marlo’s husband is never really seen doing anything to help any of their three kids. He just goes to work then retreats into the bedroom to play video games. It’s an unhealthy dad mindset of “I’m doing my part in raising this family by putting a roof over our heads. You do yours by taking care of the kids.”
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #36: One Doesn’t Want to Be Involved.
Regardless of what you think or the way your family has worked, every child needs both the father and the mother to be equally involved in their lives growing up. It’s totally unfair for the mother to put her own body and mentality into a wreck while the father just slacks back, they both should share equal burden in keeping the kids healthy and strong. That’s what my parents did: they both made sure they shared the responsibility of not just caring for me and my sister but spending that important quality time with each of us. As a result, my sister and I both still have strong relationships with our parents to this day, and genuinely enjoy the time we spend together.
- Know the needs of all your kids and meet them each equally. Don’t let all your attention divert onto one child over another because of a disability, show them the same amount of care and love that will meet them where they’re at.
- Know that a family requires both the father and the mother to be involved in loving the kids. Even kids with autism want strong bonds with both parents.
- Make sure you are taking care of yourself too. One of the things that Marlo learns in Tully is that part of her depression was because she wasn’t putting any priority into caring for herself. If you can’t do that, how can you expect your kids, especially when they have autism, to look up to you?
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!