Thoughts on the movie…

I recently went to see the movie Tully with friends Benta Sims (PSVa Board member) and Lydia Anderson (PSVa volunteer) and wanted to share a few thoughts.

Is Tully a comedy?

No, in no way is Tully a comedy. While there are moments that make the viewer laugh, Tully is a dark, complex story of one woman’s struggle in the first few weeks after having a baby.

Should PSVa’s constituency see Tully?

I would caution against seeing this movie if you are feeling fragile about motherhood or your postpartum experience, or if you feel that you would be triggered by raw depictions of childbirth, breastfeeding, or the early days of life with a new baby. I white-knuckled my way through a scene that featured prolonged crying by a newborn and was on edge during much of the movie.

Does Tully accurately depict postpartum depression?

There is no one “correct” depiction of postpartum depression or perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The main character, Marlo, experiences delusions, hallucinations, and manic episodes, which are characteristics of postpartum psychosis, which is a serious, life-threatening illness and often (unfortunately) mislabeled as postpartum depression. Marlo does not receive a diagnosis, nor are the words “postpartum depression” or “postpartum psychosis” used in the movie. Instead, the doctor describes Marlo as being extremely sleep-deprived and exhausted.

Final thoughts…

While I am grateful that Hollywood has produced a film that includes maternal mental health issues, I wish the film had shown how Marlo could/should have been screened and treated for symptoms. Hopefully Tully will continue to engender conversation about these important topics.


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