Mavis is screwed up. Like, seriously. But no more than the rest of us – and that’s where the beauty of Young Adult lies.
Young Adult was released in 2011, so I’m a bit late to the game, but its mixed reviews are highly confusing. Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman team up to create a, dare I say, powerhouse film; it’s just much more subtle than my realist faves, such as Revolutionary Road or other films that criticize and analyze the failure of any average American’s life.
But Young Adult is much more than a 30-ish woman failing to rise from her high school throne, plagued by fallen marriages and a fruitless womb. With absolute hilarity (thank you, Patton Oswalt for joining this movie), Young Adult flirts with the question, “Is anyone really happy?”
And the best thing is, Cody and Reitman never answer the question. It’s still in the air if whether Buddy is happy in his marriage; if Freehauf is a man who’s come to terms with his disability, or a man running away from real life to his action figures; if Mavis has truly found out that toying with booze and men is not a fulfilled life.
But the second to last scene is where the answer to these questions are hinted at. After Freehauf’s sister drowns Mavis in praise and belittles the “dumb and fat” town of Mercury (repeating the cafeteria cliques of decades past), and asks if she can partner up with Marvis to the grand ole’ city, Marvis shares that, well, “you’re good here.” Ouch. And once Marvis drives off in her beaten car to a life not changed, we can see that life must be something more than what these group of characters wrestle with.
Young Adult is now available on Netflix Instant, but its not a pretty Charlize Theron cracking the audience up with her antics. It’s an intimate viewing of everyone’s struggle to stretch beyond being a Young Adult.
☆☆☆☆ and 1/2 Stars