Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Young Adult" (2011) - Movie Review

Jason Reitman seems to find these characters who are impeccably flawed and then makes us like them for who they are and dislike them for the same. I think it is great to write for characters like this and Diablo Cody comes back with this script after her “Juno”. Here we get Charlize Theron playing unabashedly this character without holding anything. She is full on and you are in wonder how there will be a happy ending for it. Of course there is no happy ending for this. Jason Reitman as Martin Scorsese in his great films provides an insight into a character from point A to point B without any necessity to resolve or happily ending it.

Charlize Theron is Mavis Gary, a blonde in her late thirties living the city life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her life seems to be depressing, unhygienic and methodically self destructive. She does one thing absolutely well, that is to groom meticulously. She gets up with a hangover, washes it down with diet coke, feeds her dog with pre-made food, feeds herself with pre-made food and then stare at the computer for materials to complete a book series she has been ghost writing. In this fine day she gets an email containing a picture of a baby. This is the daughter of Mavis’ high school boyfriend Buddy Slade and his wife Beth. This disturbs her deeply while there are several other things in her life that should wake her up. The path of destruction begins as she makes up her mind to go back to her hometown Mercury, Minnesota to win her high school heartthrob back.

Mavis Gary is the person who is so aware of her beauty and develops a great level of snob, attitude and personal pride in considering every one around as the next worst thing. This gets developed in the society wherein the high school becomes a popularity contest and the winner seems to be girls like Mavis. While most of them shed those as they grow and get the reality check but others like Mavis remain connected to that land where they were regarded as goddesses. Mavis comes back to that land in the idea of reclaiming Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson). This attitude applies to guys as well who become irritable jocks but then again they grow up to face the world in a different perspective. Buddy has clearly grown out of it. He is leading calm and happy life with his wife Beth (Elizabeth Reaser) and a new born baby. There is content that gets screamed out of him and the people who knows both Mavis and him. Yet Mavis has made up her mind and sees what she wants to see. Yes there is a perfect disaster in the works and when it happens, you cannot look at it as you thought it would be.

One of those people who advices her to pack up and consult a therapist is Patton Oswalt’s Matt Freuf. He went to school with Mavis and Buddy. In fact his locker was right next to Mavis and still she does not remember. What she remembers is that he is the person who got beat up by jocks because they thought he was gay. Now permanently handicapped and other parts that does not aid him getting close with ladies, he is the person who desperately tries to talk Mavis out of this and at the same time being there for her wherein she does not respect it one bit. Patton Oswalt once again surprises with a serious dramedy performance and he brings in the same talent as he did in “Big Fan”.

Jason Reitman somehow makes Mavis digestible despite her inconsideration to anyone beside herself. The only selfless act she does throughout the film is when she says “good morning” and offers coffee to Matt’s sister Sandra (Collette Wolfe) near the end. The fact that she is at Collete’s house says how much of her simple act gets emphasized.

“Young Adult” achieves something that is so difficult to attain which is to make a dislikable central character and then they do not even make us like her and at the same time does not instantaneously hate her. We feel sorry for her as many does in the end of the film. The fact that Mavis can still treat people like dirt is because the society has elevated her beauty to that level to allow that without harm. Jason Reitman along with Diablo Cody have made it look so easy and Charlize Theron make it look so considerably damn easy. Yet what we come out of is a film that puts you how one would instantaneously react to Mavis just by looks and then by what she acts upon. You would be surprised by the contrast of our thoughts and that is exactly what the film intends to.

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