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Stars: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Lia Frankland, Asher Miles Fallica, Elaine Tan, Mark Duplass

Director: Jason Reitman

Hugely pregnant Marlo (Theron) is dreading a third motherhood, being barely able to cope with eight-year-old Sarah (Frankland) and especially her hyper six-year-old brother Jason (Fallica) who kicks things and generally throws tantrums and is about to be 'dismissed' ('We don't say expelled,' chides the head) from his school.

Super-rich sister-in-law (Tan) is little help. "The ninth month is tough,' she sympathises. 'I could barely make it to the gym.'

Well, the baby arrives and, lacking one character's 'degree in early child education' Marlo is soon a nervous wreck. So along comes Tully, a 26-year-old 'night nanny' (Davis, not distinctive enough) who cares for mother and child in the wee small hours, bringing the baby to Marlo when it cries for milk.

And she is strange, like the film, which is bizarrely disconnected from real life. Is Tully for real? Some odd happenings occur that do make make us query just what is going on here. Has the whole film been a cheat and do we care?

All is vaguely resolved at the end of a movie which depends on some smart dialogue and enigmatic treatment for its impact. Theron gallantly puts on weight to play the stressed-out Marlo and it's an excellent performance given that she must keep the audience guessing.

David Quinlan

USA/Canada 2017. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour (unspecified).
96 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 10 May 2018