Young Adult (2011)

young adult poster 2011 movie charlize theron
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Smartly acted, well crafted thinking story

Too short, more Mavis is a good thing

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Young Adult

Studio:  Mandate Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  December 9, 2011

MPAA Rating:  R


I’m in a perpetual state of hung-overness

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is living the high life.  She was the most popular girl growing up in school and now lives the glamorous life in Minneapolis acting as the ghost writer for a successful series of young adult novels called Waverly Prep.  When Mavis decides she wants her old boyfriend back, she packs up her dog and heads home to the town of Mercury.  The only problem is that her boyfriend Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) is happily married to Beth (Elizabeth Reaser) and has a young baby.  Mavis is sure that Buddy is unhappy, and against the recommendation from against her former classmate Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt), Mavis is going to get Buddy back.

Young Adult reunited Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman.  The film was well received and Charlize Theron was praised for her performance of Mavis.  She received a lot of award nomination for the films along with her co-star Patton Oswalt.


Listen…I’m just here to steal your husband

The story of Young Adult isn’t as easy as Diablo Cody’s other movies.  There isn’t a ton of resolution and the story doesn’t have much of a central story.  What story it does have isn’t a rip-roaring fun laugh a minute.  The movie very dark.  It is a comedy, but how the story plays out has really low moments for the characters.

Charlize Theron helps make this movie.  Like Juno, the movie is so central to her that if she had failed to capture the character, the movie wouldn’t have worked.  Charlize plays the character in a way that she believes what she’s doing is right.  She has been wronged by Buddy and Beth and she is the better choice for Buddy.  She honestly believes Buddy is unhappy and misreads all the signs because she’s sick and delusional.  The end of the movie has her (and her fictional character) attempting to grow-up, but her last second meeting with Matt’s sister Sandra (Collette Wolfe) seemed to bolster her belief that her life is good and perfect.  Her character graduates school (aka grows-up), but it is unclear if she reverted or advanced once she returned to Minneapolis.


Weird man…staring at me.

Theron is backed up by comedian Patton Oswalt as the geeky guy she once shared her locker with.  It is good that they were never friends in school and other than hooking up, they don’t start dating or rush off together.  Oswalt is broken like Theron and they work well together.  Oswalt has a conscience, and Theron has none.  With this combination, they form an unlikely friendship but they do work well together…I just wish Cody hadn’t turned Matt’s injuries into such a joke…He was already enough of a sad-sack.

Young Adult is a good movie, but it could have been even better.  With strong actors, I wish the script had been just a bit stronger.  The movie is pretty quick (hour and a half) and I feel there was a lot more to be explored with Mavis and how she perceives the world, interacts with her family, and more about how her town and “friends” perceived her.  The movie is more of an actor’s movie and you should check out the nice performances if you get the opportunity.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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