Young Adult (2011)
August 18, 2022 6:52 AM - Subscribe

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a successful writer of teen literature who returns to her hometown with a dual mission: to relive her glory days and steal away her now-married high-school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). However, her mission does not go exactly to plan, and she finds her homecoming more problematic than she expected. Instead, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate (Patton Oswalt), who has also found it difficult to move past high school.

Written by Diablo Cody. Directed by Jason Reitman.

80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max and available for digital rental on multiple outlets.
posted by DirtyOldTown (4 comments total)
I liked this. Was definitely not the light rom com I was expecting.
posted by emd3737 at 6:50 PM on August 18, 2022

Yeah, it turned out way different than I thought going into it, but I frickin love this movie. It captures a certain post-highschool/hometown angst that I haven't seen anywhere else. Well done, Diablo and Jason and Charlize and Patton (et al).
posted by rhizome at 11:24 AM on August 19, 2022

Great movie, adds another example to her range of repertoire.

Oswalt is just an amazing human.
posted by porpoise at 9:49 PM on August 19, 2022

A lot of people bounced off this movie because they all came in looking for Juno, me included. When I rewatched Juno, I realized that Diablo Cody was really more interested in Mark Loring (Jason Bateman) as a character. I remember an interview where she said she met many middle-aged guys like Mark when she worked as a stripper: they had been underground cool when they were younger, and they were having a very hard time making their suburban married life feel as rewarding as the glory from having their band open for The Melvins, or coming to terms with casting aside everything they learned at age 20 about how to be socially successful. According to an interview, Reitman asked the director whether, in Juno & Mark's close-dance scene, he should play it as "horny predator" or "lost in nostalgia"; the response was "do both, make it ambiguous," but personally I thought that "nostalgia" was a lot more original & insightful of a take.

Young Adult is all about a Mark-style character, only using a different model: the formerly cool mean girl with the witty remarks now adrift in a world that doesn't value those things that were so winning 10 years ago. Mavis is determined to keep living her life according to the way she thought and the things she aspired to back when she was "popular." There's a scene where she meets someone in a fast food place, a combination KFC + Taco Bell + Pizza Hut, and she keeps calling it an "KenTaco Hut" as if expecting the other person to admire her hilarious and clever put-down. But she's desperately playing her chosen role, performing for an audience of no one. The last scene of the movie, after she's been humiliated over and over in front of well-meaning mature adult friends who are baffled by her behavior, is her one moment of happiness. Sandra confesses that she was in awe of Mavis in high school and still thinks of her as better than the rest of their small town. And Mavis can, just for a minute, be the person she used to be at the top of the high school hierarchy -- she finally has someone to look down on and put back in her mediocre place.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 2:49 AM on August 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

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