Young Adult (2011)

Having loved both Juno and Up in the Air, and having read/heard some pretty good stuff about Young Adult, especially about Charlize Theron, I finally checked it out only to be disappointed. While it's not a terrible film, it's not as good as Jason Reitman's previous movies. 

Once the high school It Girl, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a now a thirty-seven-year-old alcoholic divorcée who writes a young adult fiction series. The series once was a success but now it's been cancelled due to low sales. She is trying to write the last book of the series but she has a block so she decides to return to her childhood city and is determined to win back her high school sweetheart, Buddy (Patrick Wilson). Not even the fact that Buddy is married and has a baby will dissuade her. 

The plot isn't anything we haven't seen before. It's predictable, not very interesting and boring, and it really hurt me to seeing a woman doing that to herself. And the resolution of the story wasn't that satisfactory either. 

The main theme addressed by Young Adult is the same of Reitman's other movies, the unwillingness to grow up. The entire film is shouting it, from the title to the tagline. It's been done a lot of times before and there's nothing in here that elevates the film and makes it stand out. 

Unless there is. Kinda. There are the characters/performances. Mavis Gary is a horrible person. She is a drunk who does not want to grow up. She is egocentric, so immature it's pathetic but at the same time she is so unhappy and unfulfilled you kind of feel sorry for her. She is the kind of woman who tries to conceal all that with makeup, perfect nails, hair and designer clothes, only beauty can't fix her. And Charlize Theron delivers this pathetic character.

Paramount Pictures
That said, the reason I kept watching was Patton Oswalt's Matt Freehauf. He is one of Mavis's high school classmates, notorious for being beaten up and left for dead by a group of popular kids who assumed he was gay. He has been a cripple ever since and lives a sad, quite depressing life with his sister in the city they all grew up. He is a clichéd character who is given a backstory only to make him sympathetic, and yet he is the most interesting thing in the film and that's because of Oswalt's performance. He is simply great both at drama and comedy --the only humour that works in the film comes from him. And the non-so-unexpected relationship that developed between him and Mavis makes the story more interesting.


  1. oh man you like all the films less than me :D I actually had a lot of sympathy for Mavis. And theron was really masterful!

  2. I liked this film a lot as I often think it gets overlooked because it's a study of a woman that hasn't really grown up but is also dealing with a lot of issues that she still hasn't confronted. That scene where she's at her parents home is an example of Mavis just realizing how unhappy she is and the fact that her father took the side of her ex-husband in the divorce is just sad as I felt bad for her. For me, this is one of Charlize's quintessential performances.

    1. Her performance was good, I agree, but I didn't like the character. I'm glad the movie worked better for you.