Thursday, 11 April 2013

Young Adult

UK Release: 3rd February 2012
Watched on DVD: Wednesday 3rd April 2013
Rating: 15
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 1hr 34mins
IMDb Plot Synopsis: Mavis Gary, once the high school 'It Girl', now an alcoholic divorcĂ©e who writes a soon to be canceled young adult fiction series, makes the decision to return to her childhood home in Minnesota. There she embarks on a plan to win back her former sweetheart, Buddy. The fact that Buddy is now married with a baby doesn't dissuade her. Along the way, she forms a bond with Matt Freehauf, another former classmate, who has been left disabled by a beating he took from a bunch of jocks. 

My Review: I expected big things from this movie after hearing rave reviews last year and while I usually try to keep my expectations low it was hard when this had so much hype. Charlize Theron may not be a household name quite yet but she’s definitely on her way after winning an oscar in 2003 and starring in Snow White and the Huntsman as well as Prometheus last year. Young Adult may not have been so mainstream but without her this film would have sunk because as the lead she carried this entire film. 
It treads dangerous territory as Mavis is perhaps the least likeable lead character from the last decade and there aren’t any redeemable supporting characters really either. It takes a brave person to take on a role such as Mavis and that’s why I think it shows how interesting an actress Theron is. 
It’s a rathe bleak film as it is shot in such an anti-Hollywood way, completely removed of that gloss or shine that movies have nowadays. 
Instead, it really gets into the nitty gritty of Mavis’ character and her hometown where she returns in a ridiculously desperate attempt to win back her old high school boyfriend. Who is now happily married with a new baby. My feelings for Mavis rocketed from feeling sorry for her, from thinking she’s crazy, to being angry with her. It wasn’t until Patton Oswalt (who plays Matt) shows up that I’m dragged out of my stupor and start to appreciate the film much more. He challenges Mavis in a way that no other character had done thus far. He plays the ‘nerdy’ kid who used to have a locker next door to Mavis and was a victim of a terrible hate crime back in high school. He really reveals some deeper levels to Mavis and while (unlike the Hollywood cliches where the two may fall in love) it is obvious that a relationship between the two would never work - mostly due to Mavis’ deeply selfish and ignorant nature - it is still touching to see such deeply troubled individuals come together and try and, well, grow up in the process. 
But does she? Most would find the ending unsatisfying as despite all the hints to the contrary it could be perceived that Mavis doesn’t change at all. But I think she does. Deep down somewhere in that unbalanced head of hers she may of felt something, progressed into the woman she could be. And that feeling comes completely from Charlize Theron. She absolutely made this film the dark, screwed-up, fascinating gem that it is.

Score: 7.5/10

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