"Young Adult" Review - Spoilers - Charlize Theron
12/24/11 00:12 Filed in: Cool Stuff
I'm reluctant to "review" Young Adult because there has already been a lot of ink spilled on this movie. It's the type of picture people like to brag about seeing because it makes them look smart. Pic has the same feel as movies like "Juno," "Election," "Ghost World," etc. Rolfe Kent did the music, Mr. Mudd (John Malkovich's production company) produced, Diablo Cody wrote it and Jason Reitman directed. This is the crew that does the anti-formula type movies. The problem is, they've done so many that now these flicks have their own formulaic feel. Still, you gotta love a movie that champions the viewpoint of an emotionally stunted 37-year-old single woman who can't deal with embracing adulthood, as defined by getting married, having kids, and moving to the suburbs. As a single person myself, there were some moments in "Young Adults" that I could really relate to, like Theron waking up late in the day, having fallen asleep on the couch in an awkward position with the TV on all night.
Theron plays Mavis Gery, a resident of Minneapolis (considered the "big city" in this movie) and writer of young adult books called Waverly Prep. The books are no longer popular and the series is being cancelled, but Mavis is still significantly more accomplished than her former high school buddies. For reasons revealed later in the film, she's developed a fixation on her HS sweet heart, nicely played by Patrick Wilson. She decides to go back to the small town she went to high school in and try to reclaim him, despite the fact that he's married and just had his first child.
One thing that stood out to me in this movie is how, despite the filmmaker's best efforts to make Theron look dumpy and unimpressive in her everyday romps, she still managed to be stunningly attractive in just about every frame. This kind of works against the pic, because you're always aware that the plot is slightly implausible. There is no universe where guys would not be throwing themselves at Mavis Gary even on her worse day.
However, there's more to this movie than meets the eye, and there's a stand-off of sorts between Theron's Mavis and the suburban types she resents so much toward the end that is not only incredibly uncomfortable, but shows a reversal in perspectives you will not be expecting. By the conclusion, the movie has simultaneously vilified Mavis while also showing that she stubbornly refuses to change. She thinks her view point is the superior one, but the filmmakers put a big question mark over that. You will certainly be thinking about this one for a while after you leave the theater, and that's a good thing.