Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Young Adult (2011) - A Review

I saw the trailer for the new Charlize Theron movie Young Adult (2011), and was expecting a romantic comedy that would validate some ideal perception I previously held about life in a small Midwestern town. However, the actual movie was more drama than comedy (dramedy) provoking my introspective gaze. This provocation only prompted me to wonder about the ways in which setbacks come to define a person. What does it take to overcome setbacks in order to live a full, rich, balanced life? Any thoughts? Please do not be shy. Comment away in the comment box down below. By the way, a version of this post also appears on Miami Valley Journal. The film, directed by Jason Reitman, stars Theron, who plays writer of teen fiction, Mavis Gary, Patrick Wilson, as Buddy, the object of Mavis' affection, and Patton Oswalt, as Matt, a survivor of a violent high school bullying incident who befriends the mean and vulnerable Mavis as she returns to her tiny Midwestern hamlet to seduce Buddy, a new father with a wife who is, as we used to say in the day, well rounded due to her career and her social position as a member of a riot grrrl-inspired band.
I wondered about the feelings of desperation that drove Theron's character to return to her hometown bent on home-wrecking. A pivotal monologue during a crucial group scene attempts to yield insight into Mavis' motivation and illustrates the lengths one might go to be, not merely understood, but recognized in full as fully human with the capability of being affected by change.
Unfortunately, one of the tricks of the script is for Mavis' character to slip into third-party fantasy narration during crucial moments and the effect on the audience, or at least on me, was to leave the resolution to the age old-question about the role of the organic intellectual, and whether that individual truly can come home again, unanswered. Please see the movie for yourself, and let me know if you would agree.
One positive thought about this film is that it taps into a general feeling that is prevalent now among young adults (those folk who fall into the category of "30-something", or "40-ish,") that hard work and satisfaction do not come bundled neatly into one package with the promise of recognition, as it being seen as the person who you think you are.
Perhaps most importantly, this film neither led me to want to drop everything and totally rearrange the minute details of my day-to-day life, nor, did the movie make me resolute in my belief that life is for living, damn the complications. Of course, life is for living. This may be the greatest message of the film, Young Adult. However, it is yet-to-be determined whether this means it is necessary to do something out-of-the-ordinary when we could simply live life.