Young Adult

Young Adult

(2011)

Everyone gets old. Not everyone grows up.

The director and writer of Juno re-team for this comedy-drama about a woman returning home in an attempt to revive her high school glory years. Stars Charlize Theron (Monster).... More

Mavis (Theron) is a cynical, self-obsessed writer of teenage fiction who returns home - Mercury, Minnesota - to win back her high school crush: Buddy (Patrick Wilson, Insidious), now happily married and with kids. Buddy isn't particularly willing though, and having been roundly despised at school Mavis doesn't get support from her old chums either (referred to as the "psychotic prom queen bitch"). The plan goes awry. But she finds help in one former classmate (Patton Oswalt, The Informant!), who hasn't gotten over his high school years either.Hide

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Flicks Review

I am not a fan of the previous films by both screenwriter Diablo Cody (Jennifer’s Body) and director Jason Reitman (Up In The Air), and their last collaboration together (Juno) was hardly the second-coming. So I went into Young Adult without a huge amount of excitement.... More

Turns out though, this is one of the best contemporary dramas to come along in years. Charlize Theron is at her absolute best playing a frequently shallow and charmless writer who returns to her tiny hometown to awkwardly woo a former flame (Patrick Wilson).

Theron is a wonder in the film, and her lack of an Oscar nomination for this film is nothing less than criminal. She manages to embrace her character’s awfulness while delivering a raw, multi-dimensional performance that demands audience empathy.

Alternative comedy superstar Patton Oswalt (Big Fan) is great as the schlub she ends up hanging out with and plenty of fine talent fill out the supporting roles.

This film reminded me somewhat of the underrated dramedy In Her Shoes, another film that shows just how satisfying a well-realised character arc can be. Young Adult doesn’t proffer easy resolutions to the issues it throws up but there’s something for everyone to relate to here.

The only distracting element was the surfeit of fast food product placement, but I guess we should get used to that.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 3 ratings, 3 reviews
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BY Tester nobody

Didn't quite ring true for me.


Director Jason Reitman was born to succeed. In his youth he would have had access to some of the funniest movie sets and best comedic minds of the 80's and 90's. His education was to watch the creation of modern classics such as Meatballs, Ghost Busters, Stripes & Kindergarten Cop. As if that wasn't enough, at the end of each day his father, Ivan Reitman (the outre producer behind these films), would have offered his best directorial and comedic film making devices over the dinner... More table. Although Jason's comedic pedigree is strong, he has embraced his own distinctive, quirky story telling style. He exploded onto the screens in 2005 with his exceptional debut feature 'Thankyou for Smoking', followed closely by the cult sensation 'Juno'. With every film that Jason produces, he seems to grow in both sophistication and confidence. His 2009 feature 'Up in the Air' allowed him to do away the reputation of just being Ivan's son, giving him freedom to stand alone in a career that will surely equal if not surpass his father.

Today's film, and his latest, 'Young Adult' is another solid step forward for Jason and the Reitman family filmography. This time he has revived his successful partnership with the Juno writer, the free spirited former stripper, Diablo Cody. Set in Middle America, this dark comedy gives us the story of Ghost writer, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), as she battles to complete a series of young adult novels. In search of inspiration, she decides to head back to her home town Mercury. Upon arrival, it's clear her motives for returning are directed towards a former flame, Buddy (Patrick Wilson), the only problem being that he has moved on with a wife and child, seemingly only a small bump in the road for Mavis.

Charlize Theron's Mavis Gary is both absorbing and irritating. Generally, I've found Reitman's protagonists are relatable in some way or another, but with Mavis any likeability was fleeting. Instead we are left with a self-absorbed woman in her mid-30's, devoid of any real adult emotions, seemingly one tick away from institutional commitment. That, cocktailed with a significant case of alcoholism, leads to a spectacular train wreck seen coming by all except herself. These days it's a gamble to have your main character be so blatantly anti-social. With all the audience testing and big studio input, I'm surprised she made it to screen. Even with all her failings I'm sure glad she did. Charlize Theron's performance needed to be good to redeem Mavis's character and that it certainly was. She carried the film like the true star she is, the subtlety in her comic delivery melts away any sour feelings I may have had of Mavis. Plus, as psychopathic and distorted as her character was, she still looks as stunning as ever.

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BY PhilMoore superstar

This is a great performance from Charlize as Mavis a young adult writer. She decides to go back to the small town she grew up in and get her old high school boyfriend back. Charlize is amazing in every scene. There are funny moments,shocking and also heartfelt moments as well. I am very disapointed that the academey didn't get her an Oscar nomination this week. Never mind. A great little film, with a great performance


The Press Reviews

80% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Shrouds its brilliant, brave and breathtakingly cynical heart in the superficial blandness of commercial comedy. Full Review

  • Young Adult packs some ornery truths about compromise as the key to an arrested adolescent’s survival as an adult. Full Review

  • While on sardonic turf, it's scathingly funny. Then it veers from biting wit to pitiful. Full Review

  • The deliberately prickly pic courageously risks offending audiences to arrive at a truth beyond its genre's normal grasp. Full Review

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