Even though we know film and television shows were created for the purpose of storytelling, audiences have a tendency to take them seriously. Serious subject matters like postpartum depression are not shown very much in entertainment mediums which, according to the American Psychological Association, says affects one in seven women. Diablo Cody’s film, Tully, experienced controversy from mothers that postpartum depression was not shown in the most accurate life as well as in its advertising.
The film Tully is about a mother pregnant with her third child going through a massive amount of stress. Her husband is not helping her out very much and she is left to deal with the impulsivity of one of her children, breast pumping, and putting her baby to sleep all by herself. She decides to hire a night nanny to help make things easier for her. This was what was shown in the advertisements for the film. Mothers complained to Postpartum Support International two months before the film’s release about the trailer. They felt like postpartum depression was not shown in an accurate light based on what they saw. Writer of the film, Diablo Cody, defended the trailer by explaining that she was not responsible for the creation of the trailer in that advertisements shown the warmer, more comedic parts of a film to show tickets.
Spoilers starting occurring in that by the film’s ending, we learn that the night nanny is really a figment of the main character’s imagination. It appears that she is suffering from postpartum psychosis which is a rare condition that affects one in a thousand mothers. People who saw the movie wished that there could have been a trigger warning before the film as mothers who experienced severe anxiety after their pregnancy felt triggered by it. There was also complaints in that the film does not show the main character going into treatment as a result of her psychosis as well as her special-needs son. Cody defended that complaint in say that the film is about the lack of treatment there is and hopes that this film will open up discussions about how serious motherhood can be on someone’s mental health.
Cody did not speak to experts on maternal mental illness when writing this film and only relied on research and her own experiences of motherhood. Cody hopes more films are made regarding postpartum depression to tell more stories.
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