Life on the farm moves more slowly that life in the big city, and Tully marvelously captures the slower rhythm of life in small-town Nebraska. The Coates family lives here, and Tully is one of those films where things happen, but nothing really happens. It is a good portrayal of life on a farm, but it moves a little too slowly to hold the interest of somebody watching. Based on the story The Truth About Tully by Tom McNeal, Tully follows the family as their lives change drastically.

Tully Coates Sr. (Bob Burrus) raised his children after the death of his wife. When asked, he was always evasive about what exactly happened, and his sons never asked further out of respect. He was evasive because he was hiding something, and now the lie is coming back to haunt him. He is facing bankruptcy on the farm. Burrus is great as Tully Sr., a man who was never comfortable expressing any sort of emotion. He would rather be quiet or gruff than open up to anybody, even his sons. However, Tully is mainly about Tully Coates Jr. (Anson Mount, Crossroads, Urban Legends: Final Cut), Coates' eldest son. Tully has aspirations of one day running the farm, but is a little too immature to realize that he is not ready. He has a reputation as somewhat of a lothario, which makes things odd when he befriends Ella Smalley (Julianne Nicholson, Passion of Mind, Hero).

Ella is not the type of woman Tully goes for, and Tully does not see this as a romantic relationship. She is not beautiful, but attractive in a normal sort of way. She is smart, has goals, and dreams. Ella is good friends with Tully's younger brother Earl (Glenn Fitzgerald, Igby Goes Down, 40 Days & 40 Nights), who has his own revelations to deal with, but is absent for a large chunk of the film. It feels like director/adapter Hilary Birmingham and co-adapter Matt Drake wanted to make sure that everybody had something to do, while not doing much at all. Nothing really happens until Tully nears its conclusion, and by then it's a little too late to save the film.

However, the acting is top-notch on all accounts. Burrus in particular is great. His Tully is a man who is used to control, and finds himself suddenly completely helpless. Mount and Nicholson are good, trying to figure out their emotions in a realistic and understated way. Also good is Catherine Kellner (Pearl Harbor, Shaft) who has a small role as Tully's stripper girlfriend. Tully is the type of movie where it is more worthwhile watching the performances than the movie itself.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 42 minutes, Not Rated but contains some language and mature situations, a PG-13 or R.

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