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Review: Young Adult (2012)
by Ailsa Windsor
08 April 2012
Charlise Theron gives a magnificently moving performance as Mavis Gary, the anti-heroine - former cheerleader and school beauty now turned self-absorbed, alcoholic depressive in Diablo Cody's 'Young Adult' directed by Jason Reitman
Beautiful but flawed Mavis Gary (Charlise Theron) realises that she once held something precious in her life that has slipped away. Triggered by an email announcing the arrival of a baby in the Slade family, Buddy Slade having been the love of her life while at school, she sets about a delusional journey to rescue him from his 'prison' the mundanity of life.
For Diablo Cody, this isn't an autobiographical tale, but it certainly is personal and there are definite parallels. Brook Busey aka Diablo, was writing a screenplay for the popular teen series Summer Valley High written by various ghostwriters under the guise of the series' originator. she began to wonder about the lives of these writers and the characters jogged memories of the popular girls at school who were really mean at heart; the poor geeks who were tormented by the jocks; and the disappointments suffered when they has to face 'real' life.
Mavis is an amalgam of characters which each of us have encountered at one time or another; and so is Matt (Patton Oswalt). Although 'Young Adult' is described as a dark comedy I must admit that I fail to see anything remotely funny. It's a disturbing movie and yet, this is exactly what director Jason Reitman intended. He believes that culture is obsessed with beauty, but what lies beneath that glossy exterior? Is it a mean-spirited, self-absorbed person who cares about nothing but herself?
And this, is indeed the challenge which he places before the viewer - while cringing at the vile route she has undertaken, does he make you care? 'Young Adult' is interesting viewing, which while not being light-hearted entertainment certainly provides food for thought!