Monday, April 16, 2012

Young Adult (2011)

Okay, okay, it's a tad too late for one more opinion on the new Jason Reitman, I know, but certain films take ages to arrive here. And you know what? Young Adult, indie enough,  starring Charlize Theron, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman is screening happily for the second or third week in Utopia, which is the sophisticated or sort of alternative cinema of the area. Young Adult is not a crowd-pleaser, so it had no place in a cineplex in this country.

That said, this is a somehow unpleasant, but well-crafted and thought-provoking film. Diablo Cody said that she put a lot of herself to the main character, an adult who did not properly grow up and is still obsessing with her teenage life. So, after giving us Juno, a film about teenagers that take life seriously she now turns that world upside-down; she writes about an adult who thinks that life is a set of high-school intrigues of sorts.

Actually, that was supposed to be a didactic screening; while I was looking at the poster with a certain somebody and proposing him to watch the film, he took a closer look, then read the tagline "Everyone gets old. Not everyone grows up" and started laughing his ass off. After the screening, he even dared to ask if I identified with the protagonist! Well, I am nothing like Charlize Theron, but I do tend to be unsatisfied with what I have nevertheless. Mavis towards the end of the film has a chat with a girl who was a big fan of her prom queen years; while she's devastated, because her evil (sic) plans didn't work, her dress is destroyed from spilled wine and she's feeling a big fat zero, her devotee tells her that actually everyone is more or less jealous of her. How could she not feel satisfied and fulfilled? She has everything: beauty, a career and a quasi-glamorous life in the big city. She has the time and the freedom to care about her appearance, wear nice clothes and look like a movie star (ha), while her former school mates have families, responsibilities and other such trivialities. They seem effortless happy, though; but, everything is a matter of perspective, after all. 

I'd need such an eye-opening experience only too often; we maybe all do. Appreciation and gratitude is where the closure of the narrative is pointing to, and I'm sure it's something we all miss to a smaller or a greater extent. Mavis is gorgeous-looking and she is working from home and not at crazy rhythms; but, she divorced recently and the book series she was writing is not selling well any more. Should she be desperate? Should she concoct crazy schemes to go and conquer her old-boyfriend, take him away from his new-born baby and wife et cetera? Of course not, a logical person would say, but Mavis is superficial and self-absorbed and she is unable to see the big picture; she actually seems so neurotic that it could go as far as to be deranged -that's why Mavis, played insanely well by Charlize Theron who got a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, is actually an annoying  character, one you don't want to know. It's not hard  to relate with her issues, though. Being frustrated and obsessed with things that don't really matter is a situation we all get through now and then. Female psyche is damn fragile and that's that.

Apart from witty lines and fine acting (I cannot stop laughing with Theron's frowning face when she faced the, admittedly ugly, baby) the film earns extra merit from the wonderful job Jason Reitman did with directing. Being able to show Theron naked, yet not sexy, but pathetic is quite a deed. Yound Adult is a thought-provoking film, but very bitter or sour or whatever. They called it "the feeling bad movie of the year" and they may as well be right. Great work, guys, but I prefer Juno a 100%. Plus, Mavis' emptiness and dry feelings that the absence of music in numerous scenes tried to convey was annoying. It worked, I mean, but it's still annoying to be forced to feel the character's real struggle with herself and her issues that way. Or do I get far too empathetic here?

*The film got many awards and nominations, some for it's lovely screen-writer, Diablo, who has notably said: "Having your film made is the award. That alone is the miracle." That girl is cool. I knew it from the beginning. 

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