Young Adult ****


“Young Adult” is the latest from director Jason Reitman who brought us “Juno” and “Up In The Air”.  That might lead some to believe, including myself, that this is going to be a razor sharp comedy that balances mainstream comedy with indie drama.  That is partially true.  What makes “Young Adult” stand out is that it is a fairly bleak movie.

When we meet the heroin, played by Charlize Theron, she is pretty much at the point of no return.  She is an alcoholic who has hit rock bottom and really has no chance of getting back up. I admired the screenplay in the way that it follows this character down and then simply lets her fall further in to oblivion.  Not a lot of movies would end with no light at the end of the tunnel. 

Theron plays Mavis who was once a Prom Queen and is now a struggling novelist.  She writes a series of Young Adult fiction books that are at the tail end of their popularity.  When she receives an invitation to a baby shower by her high school sweetheart she decides that she is going to her home town to get him back.  She believes that he will simply leave his family for her and start a new life. 

What struck me is the performance by Charlize Theron.  She is uncompromising in her determination to get this guy back.  She puts no thought in to wrecking somebody else’s marriage and breaking up a set of parents.  She sees him at her only chance at a somewhat normal life.  What she doesn’t realize is that there is no hope for her. 

Not a lot of actress’ want to be seen in such a light.  Theron goes for broke and turns in what I think is her best performance.  She bares it all. 

She is helped along by Patton Oswalt, who also gives an amazing performance as the guy who lusted after her in high school.

Just how good is Jason Reitman?  It is almost like he was born with a gift for filmmaking.  Here he works again with Diablo Cody, who wrote the screenplay for Juno.  Did she incorporate some of her own life again in to this screenplay?  It seems to real to be made up. 


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