Monday, December 19, 2011
Movie Review: YOUNG ADULT is a dark stunted adolescent train wreck
I've been a boomerang kid. I live somewhat in a state of arrested development. I have a tendency to lean towards a prolonged adolescence. But I am nowhere near as messed up as Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), as she's not really 37 going on 17, but mentally ill instead.
Mavis is a ghost writer who lives in the big city. With her life in disarray, she gets an idea in her head that her high school sweetheart is the love of her life and that they belong together. It doesn't matter to her that he's married with a brand new baby girl. Mavis is delusional, a narcissist, and an alcoholic with deep seeded mental problems. I would say she pretty much has some kind of patholoyg (psycho or socio). That being said, I still kind of liked her for her complete and utter bitchiness because at times, despite her craziness, she can touch upon the truth. Not always, but sometimes.
The film is dark comedy and doesn't end things with a neat little bow, which is refreshing because sometimes people don't change. Sometimes people are bitches, sometimes people are drunks, and sometimes people don't learn from their mistakes. Mavis, may or may not, learn a thing or two from her brief visit to her hometown, but I venture to guess that she won't, but the tiniest glimmer of hope might say otherwise.
Theron is great as Mavis. She lays it out there for the audience. We can either feel empathy for Mavis, or not. It can go both ways. We catch glimpses of vulnerability, but we aren't quite sure if they're legit because one never knows if a narcissist can be legit, or would even know how to. The one scene with her parents reveals a lot about why she is so neurotic. Her parents are harmless, but when Mavis tells them that she might be an alcoholic, they dismiss it in seconds and the subject is never mentioned again. It's a moment that shows Mavis might want help and tries to be truthful about herself, but her parents don't want to see it. They, too, may be delusional. Their daughter has been trying to be perfect probably her whole life, but she is nowhere near it.
I also liked Matt Freehauf, played by Patton Oswalt. He went to school with Mavis, and Mavis doesn't remember him, despite having her locker next to his for years. He drinks a lot and is also stuck in his life. He still lives at home and uses the fact that he was attacked in high school and left for dead, as a crutch to keep him in a state of arrested development. He is the film's moral compass.
The film is written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman, who teamed up before for Juno. This is a lesser film, but still good. I really enjoyed the opening scene and the title sequence is now one of my favourites ever.
7.5 out of 10