Another classic Diablo Cody script! I love the dialogue she writes for characters who are (for lack of a better word) ‘real’. Jason Reitman is the director of this comedy-drama, who is responsible for the likes of Juno and Up in the Air.
Young Adult is about a ghost writer, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), who returns to her home town to try and get back with an old flame, Buddy. Buddy, however, is married and has just had a baby and is in no way interested in what Mavis is so obviously implying.
Mavis’ mum: That new baby of his is just darling.
Mavis: Have you seen it? …up close?
Her pessimistic and delusional outlook is something that [unfortunately] I love about her. She is rude, aloof and doesn’t care what people think of her.
Her language is just great though. The way she talks about marriage and children is like she’s talking about a disease that needs to be avoided. Mavis tells Buddy that ‘we can beat this thing together’ referring to his family. I’m tickled by that. This really isn’t a typical comedy at all.
Thankfully, during her crisis, Mavis meets a guy who she also used to go to high school with, Matt (Patton Oswalt).
Matt was severely attacked during high school resulting in him being disabled. But they bond over hating the same things. Mavis projects her hatred outwardly, and Matt eventually realises he has nothing to lose by expressing his anger around her too.
Mavis is such a lost soul though. She tortures herself by forever reminiscing about her high school days, when she was popular. It doesn’t help that she writes a ‘young adult’ series about popularity in high school, which becomes her diary disguised as a fictional teenage novel.
I love this movie because it’s character-based. It’s not fast-paced, just like real life, and hangs on to every emotion of the unstable Mavis, which makes you squirm. She’s so immature… But entertaining because she’s so expressive.
It’s not a movie for everyone. But I enjoy analysing behaviour, and I find the subtleties in this film interesting. She’s entertainingly perpetually disgusted with everything.
Check out my favourite scene in the movie here. It’s when Mavis Gary loses the plot at Buddy and Beth’s (Elizabeth Reaser) baby shower. It’s oddly empowering. Although I feel like I’m doing the wrong thing by taking her side.
I suppose this is a movie where the protagonist is the ‘bad guy’, and you can’t help but support and relate to her.
Jodie’s rating: 7/10