Young Adult acts as one of Jason Reitman's (Up in the Air, Juno) better films in his career, bringing to life a character that the audience loves hating. Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) plays the part of Mavis Gary, a writer who is selfishly interested in breaking up the relationship of an ex-boyfriend and his wife. Theron's facial expressions make the audience cringe throughout the film, as she hurts others and appears unrelatable. Yet, Diablo Cody's (Juno) story puts her at the center of the screen as a protagonist. At times, the audience wants to root for her success, but her attitude constantly reminds us that she is just an all-around bad person. This is a spectacular performance by Theron, portraying Mavis as the character necessary to the story.
All of the supporting roles are also respectable, highlighted by Patton Oswalt's (Ratatouille) crippled basement-dweller. When Mavis meets Matt Freehauf, she gets an image of a seemingly polar-opposite personality. The two characters play off of each other, constantly bickering and yet growing close to each other throughout the film. The audience grows to respect Matt, who strives to make Mavis a more respectable character. Oswalt brings just the right amount of charm with his portrayal of Matt, creating a dual force that Mavis has to cope with. Both Theron and Oswalt fit well into their characters, pushing the story to it's breaking point.
While some audiences may not appreciate this film because it is slow and cheesy, there are many respectable traits encompassed by Reitman's direction. There are no special effects, causing no real pop-out images. Yet, the story is authentic through Reitman's direction. We are dropped into the middle of a depressing younger woman's life. We take for granted these types of stories because they do not rely on vibrant colors and explosions. Rather they strive for realistic imagery and imaginable characters. For that, credit must be given to the simplistic life of Mavis Gary.
The Bottom Line: Young Adult stands out as one of Reitman's better films, with great acting and an authentic story.
Image credit: By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40665878
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