Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron, Monster), a successful writer of “young adults” novels, is an overly impulsive woman. Mavis wakes up one morning and decides to travel to her hometown in Minnesota. She is a woman on a mission: the neurotic author is determined to win back her High School sweetheart (Patrick Wilson, Little Children).
Reaction & Thoughts:
Young Adult reunites director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air and Labor Day) with Award-winner writer Cody Diablo (they first collaborated in the critically and financially successfully Juno). I’m not a fan of either person so I was taken aback by how much I liked the film. It’s a fine exploration of one of today’s most serious problems: lack of emotional maturity in adults.
The film’s ant-heroine is filled with laments. That’s hardly a surprise because 37-year-old Gary is a grown woman with the mind of an adolescent. Gary mistakenly thinks that her happiness lies in reliving the past.
Cody’s script feels at times like a first draft, though. It feels a bit untidy. It’s also a bit too narrow-minded. You have, however, to admire a movie that makes an unlikable character likable. Gary says pretty much whatever comes to her mind. There is something appealing about a person who is brutally honest. We understand she is a total wreck, but somehow sympathize with her inability to make sound decisions about her life.
Although the script is far from perfect, Theron is able to come up with a robust characterization that makes up for lulls in the script itself. Theron does a fantastic job winning the sympathy from the audience, not an easy task by any means. She is sensational — it’s her best performance yet.
The supporting cast is very good too. The cast includes Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille), Collette Wolfe (Interstellar), Elizabeth Reaser (Twilight), Richard Bekins (United 93), and Mary Beth Hurt (Interiors).
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Young Adult is a surprisingly funny, perceptive and unlike director Reitman’s previous films, strangely optimistic. Theron is unforgettable; an intelligent performance from an actor who seems to be getting better with each new movie. Recommended (with caution). Color, 94 minutes, Rated R.