Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20

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Critic Reviews

  1. Such understated storytelling, sensitive directing, and avoidance of easy filmmaking tricks are all too rare in American movies. This is truly one from the heart.
  2. Thanks to strong performances from all, particularly Mount and Nicholson, we're with this story all the way.
  3. 90
    Birmingham and coscreenwriter Matt Drake adapted a short story by Tom McNeal, elaborating on its plot but beautifully capturing its low-key poeticism.
  4. 88
    We might quarrel with the crucial decision at the end of Tully, but we have to honor it because we know it comes from a good place. So does the whole movie.
  5. Tully is at turns heartbreaking and heart-stirring. And it's from the heartland, so I guess that makes perfect sense.
  6. 80
    Hilary Birmingham -- makes an impressive feature directorial debut with this rural drama. She gets first-rate performances.
  7. Although this is director Birmingham's first feature -- she has a very sure sense of what she wants out of her cast and the ability to put it on screen. Tully may go against the grain of hipness, but that proves to be very much of a blessing.
  8. 80
    This is writer-director Hilary Birmingham's first film, and it's a lovely thing, as reserved and unfussy as its characters and, like them, full of surprises.
  9. The movie's unhurried rhythm eventually works a quiet spell, and after a while you find yourself settling back, adjusting to the film's bucolic metabolism and appreciating its eye and ear for detail.
  10. Burrus has a face that does all the talking for him -- deep creases, sad eyes, and a gray hue that hangs over him like a rain cloud. It's a remarkable performance.
  11. 75
    An uncommonly perceptive and finely shaded character drama.
  12. A few scenes are a bit coy and the "big secrets" threaten to pitch into melodrama, but Birmingham keeps bringing the film back to the delicate dynamics of the relationships at its heart.
  13. 75
    The film's unhurried pace is actually one of its strengths. Entirely appropriately, the tale unfolds like a lazy summer afternoon and concludes with the crisp clarity of a fall dawn. That's not just a farm movie, that's life.
  14. 70
    In its strongest moments, Tully has the quality of a good short story, in the way it details the underlying affection and resentment that creeps into the lives of its four main characters, played with great sensitivity by a cast of mostly unknowns.
  15. The movie drags in some places and throbs in others, but it looks and feels like a bigger production than it actually is. The largely unknown cast is especially strong - this may be your first chance to discover them, but it won't be the last time you see them.
  16. 60
    A modest but finely tuned look at small-town life.
  17. 50
    The flashes of emotional eloquence from the actors (especially Fitzgerald and Julianne Nicholson, as the radiant vet student who befriends both boys) are muffled by the ultimately asphyxiating preciousness.
  18. 50
    It resides in that cinematic middle ground of not-bad, not-great, just okay.
  19. 38
    A yawn-provoking little farm melodrama.

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User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. ChadS.
    Jan 29, 2006
    What drives "Tully" is the luminous work of Julianne Nicholson, who you hope doesn't get her heart broken by the titular character, What drives "Tully" is the luminous work of Julianne Nicholson, who you hope doesn't get her heart broken by the titular character, played by Anson Mount. That's what gives this quietly amazing film its tension. We want the best for Ella. "Tully" could've just been about this unlikely love affair between a good girl and a bad boy, but it's also about family secrets and the financial strain which plagues a heartland farmer. "Tully" is so understated, you're never completely cognizant to the oncoming tragedy, even though the filmmaker sets it up in full-view. It's unnecessary, but well-done and absolutely plausible. "Tully" would still be a gem without the melodrama. This film gets away with a potentially bum note because it respects people who live in small towns. Not once does the viewer feel that the people who inhabit this Nebraska outback are wasting away their days and nights like a hick who's tipped a few cows in his lifetime. Somebody has to live in these places, and the people we meet here do it with grace, especially Ella, who is poetry in motion. Full Review »