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'Young Adult' Starring Charlize Theron

A movie directed by Jason Reitman

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Maturity gets ugly

  • Dec 22, 2011


Written by Diablo Cody

Directed by Jason Reitman

Starring Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt and Patrick Wilson


Buddy Slade: Mavis, I’m a married man.

Mavis Gary: I know. We can beat this thing together.


Mavis Gary (the always stunning, Charlize Theron) wakes up, it would seem, most days face down in her pillow, still wearing her makeup and heels from the previous night of debauchery. When she comes to, she immediately reaches for the nearest 2L bottle of Diet Coke she can find to give her the jolt she needs to get on with her day. After high school, she promptly exited her hick town, Mercury, in favor or the mini-apple, Minneapolis, to pursue a once thriving career in ghost writing young adult fiction. At 37 years old, Mavis is hardly young like the characters she writes about and knows best but after spending five minutes with her in Jason Reitman’s latest film, YOUNG ADULT, you’ll see that calling her adult is sometimes an even bigger stretch.


If you pointed out what a mess she was, I seriously doubt Mavis would know what you were talking about. Actually, given the amount of attitude she usually carries in her demeanor, I’m thinking she would probably punch you in the face for the suggestion. As constructed by Diablo Cody, who last collaborated with Reitman on the contemporary classic, JUNO, Mavis is quite simply unlikable and Theron is perfectly cast in the part. She is strikingly beautiful and therefore has always had an easy time getting what she wants but despite her soft features, she is about as callous as they come. Theron is unapologetic as Mavis, determined in her resolve no matter how misguided it is and no matter whom she takes down along the way. Yet she still reveals enough of that once young adult inside of her to give the audience some insight into how she came to be this person.


Compared to past Reitman films, like UP IN THE AIR and THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, YOUNG ADULT is by far his prickliest pear. It’s humour is decidedly darker in tone and it isn’t easy to forgive his heroine her actions, regardless what damage inspired them. Mavis returns home under the guise of a real estate transaction to essentially “save” her college boyfriend (Patrick Wilson) from his supposed death trap of a marriage despite his first child just being born. (In fact, the baby is the catalyst for her decision.) In doing so, the high school prom queen befriends the hapless high school loser (an endearing and impressive, Patton Oswalt) and the two form an unlikely friendship that holds a mirror up to both of their issues. Their chemistry is so unexpected and natural that it gives YOUNG ADULT exactly what it needs to mature into the film it was always meant to be - a modern exploration of how growing up can be a lifelong process.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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December 23, 2011
I like this filmmaker, so that alone may be enough to get me to see it. 8/10 is pretty good rating from you...thanks and Happy Holidays, Joseph!
More Young Adult reviews
review by . April 02, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****    Mavis (Charlize Theron) has hit rock bottom. Once a writer of a popular series of young adult novels - and currently working on the final chapter reluctantly and at a ridiculously slow pace - she now retires to her apartment in Minneapolis; unhappy, unsatisfied, and unmarried. She gets calls from her publisher throughout the day, meets with the few friends that she has, and otherwise just lies around the house all day. She starts the morning by chugging …
review by . December 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Review: 'Young Adult' 'Two Jews On Film' Applaud Charlize Theron's Wonderful Performance (video)
      By Joan Alperin-Schwartz      Mavis Gary, (Charlize Theron) 37, has a very pretty face and very pretty hair...except for the bald spot on the back of her head...Seems Mavis has a nasty little habit of pulling out her hair, when ever the mood strikes her.      She also has a highrise apartment overlooking the Minneapolis skyline and an adorable, Pomerian (are there any other kind) named, Dolce.   …
review by . December 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) makes a living ghostwriting novels geared towards the tween crowd. They call this Young Adult Fiction – YA in publisher’s lingo. The books are part of a series created by another author. They were at one time incredibly popular. Now, the series has been cancelled. The book she’s currently writing will be the final installment. Although she gets by financially, she does not live the glamorous life of …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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Director: Jason Reitman
Screen Writer: Diablo Cody

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