The second team up between the director and writer of Juno, Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody. That was an indie that blew up and even received a Best Picture nomination in 2007 (which I thought was bullshit, but that’s another story lol, 2007 was SO GOOD for film), would their follow up be as satisfying? I actually liked Juno, but it’s a good film at best, not great. Putting that film up against 2007, let alone movies in general, it’s not that amazing. Young Adult is a much more compelling and entertaining film than Juno.
The main set up of Young Adult is that Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) goes back to her hometown in an effort to win back her ex-boyfriend (Patrick Wilson), who is happily married with a child.
Let’s just start off by saying that Charlize Theron’s performance is remarkable. She is fully committed to Mavis Gary and this shockingly crass mess of a person. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Charlize Theron as the main character of a film so it’s nice to see that she still has the acting chops to pull a role like this off. Mavis is a character who just cannot let go of the past and the ideal reality she believes she deserves to have.
This film contains a slew of great performances from under the radar actors. I loved Patrick Wilson and Elizabeth Reaser as the typical suburban couple. Especially towards the end of the film where they really get a chance to shine. Patton Oswalt as Matt Freehauf was fantastic as the counterpart to Charlize Theron. He is the other character who is so caught up in his past that it weighs him down.
While I found Charlize Theron’s character to be fascinating, she bordered the line of believability at times. I don’t doubt that there are people who are as egotistical and narcissistic, but she’s pretty much bat shit insane lol. That’s definitely part of the appeal of this film, the whole cringe worthy embarrassment comedy tone. What I like is that the film doesn’t just create this crazy character, we get small little glimpses into her life and see how she became this way. She’s an author of semi-popular young adult novels, she’s “beautiful” by society’s standards, and her world is warped by the kitsch of modern day pop culture. The Diet Coke eye openers and reality TV constantly playing in the background should give you a clue as to what her values are in life. Much credit must be given to writer Diablo Cody who clearly has improved since her Juno script.
The main idea I got out of this film is that people see the world the way that they want to see it. So many people in this film (and in real life) are so caught up in the past that it allows them to overlook the good in the present. Mavis Gary is so caught up in her own past and oblivious to the fact that her ex-boyfriend is clearly happily settled down and Matt Freehauf is so caught up on one incident in his past; it doesn’t allow them to fully grow as people and live normal happy lives.. The film also strangely enough reminded me of The Wire and the ultimate message of that TV show with institutions and how things typically don’t change.
Young Adult is a cringe inducing (in a good way) embarrassment comedy that you can’t keep your eyes off of. It’s like when you watch a TV show or movie and something so embarrassing happens that you have to cringe or close your eyes slightly, but you keep on watching the train wreck unfold. What does unfold in this movie is pure hilarity and a savagely depressing streak about the unfulfilled lives of those stuck in the past. Young Adult also happens to be one of the more thought provoking films of the year. I would highly recommend this movie because I think everyone will get something different out of it.
There’s one bit that’s spoilery that I want to get into, so don’t hit “read more” unless you’ve seen Young Adult AND Juno.
The one bit I wanted to get to that I thought was interesting about Young Adult was how the Patrick Wilson character was essentially the antithesis of the Jason Bateman character in Juno. Bateman in Juno is a suburban guy who isn’t quite ready for the responsibilities of being a father and clings to his old hopes and dreams in spite of his relationship with Jennifer Garner. Wilson in Young Adult is a man who is fully committed to his relationship and his child, leaving the past where it is. Whereas Bateman was a man who didn’t compromise with his relationship, Wilson was the kind of guy who would willingly, not begrudgingly, give up everything for his family.
- jlemurs reblogged this from inezco and added:
- inezco posted this