Friday, December 16, 2011

Young Adult

Young Adult marks the fourth film that Jason Reitman has directed and the second collaboration between him and screenwriter Diablo Cody. Reitman has released his fourth successful film. In my book, he can do no wrong.

The official synopsis:
Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a writer of teen literature who returns to her small hometown to relive her glory days and attempt to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). When returning home proves more difficult than she thought, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate (Patton Oswalt) who hasn't quite gotten over high school, either.
Reitman directed the film on a $12 million budget in a 30 day span. That said, the the 93 minute film does not feel as if it were forced.

The overall critical consensus from Rotten Tomatoes is Certified Fresh with 81% positive reviews (83% top): "Despite its somewhat dour approach, Young Adult is a funny and ultimately powerful no-holds-barred examination of prolonged adolescence, thanks largely to a convincing performance by Charlize Theron."

Her performance is one of the best acting jobs that I've seen this year. You don't have to be a big fan of hers to enjoy it. I laughed several times during the comedy. Theron's character, Mavis, is trying to win back her ex-boyfriend, who is married and has a child, but it's clear that she's unhappy being back in her hometown of Mercury. She catches up with Matt, a classmate that was beaten up and walks with a crutch. He tells her it's a bad idea.

Here are some comments from Frank Lovece:
An amazing little movie with a Streep-wise performance by Theron—who impossibly, impeccably, gives her character humanity—Young Adult cost a modest $12 million to make and was shot in 30 days. Like The Wrestler or Crazy Heart or even Reitman's own Up in the Air, it's one of those small end-of-year films that, rightfully, charms audiences and Academy voters alike. OK, maybe we're kvelling—but how many movies with such a distinctly Midwestern milieu make you kvell?
Frank also interviews the Reitman, Cody, and Theron in the article but this gets to the gist of why the film was written:
FJI: Let's talk about how the film came together. Diablo, you've said Mavis is partly based on you. She lives in Minneapolis, as you did for a time, so what part of you is she based on besides the living-in-Minneapolis part?

This common question I would get at Q & As or press junkets or what-have-you was: "Why are you so fixated on [movies about] adolescents?" [I began wondering:] Am I stunted somehow? And so as I thought about my own life, I thought, "Gosh, that would be a great character—a woman in her 30s who writes young-adult fiction and does in fact cling to deluded teenage fantasies in her real life, and is obsessed with recreating her teenage years come hell or high water."
I cannot recommend this film enough. You can make no mistake right now that I will be buying the bluray at some point next year.

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