Saturday, 10 March 2012

Young Adult, dir. Jason Reitman, wr. Diablo Cody, st. Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser

Very much a companion piece to Cody's Juno from 2007, Young Adult similarly confronts stock issues of growing up and taking responsibility, and gives them a citric acid coating and a satisfyingly chewy core. Theron plays Mavis Gary, a ghostwriter coming to the end of a Vampirically successful line of teen-romance books, who, on receipt of a round-robin from a high school ex, impetuously hotfoots it back to her hometown and into his infant and wife-settled world in order to reclaim him as her own. Theron hasn't done anything of any real substance since Paul Haggis' In The Valley Of Elah in 2007 and it's great to be reminded of her range and energy as an actor. Her portrayal of Mavis is as absorbing to watch as it is discomforting, a 90 minute car crash that has you rubbernecking at her delusional behaviour with a troubling mixture of pity and wonderment. It's not as substantial as the aforementioned Juno or even Reitman's follow up Up In The Air in 2009, which trod sublimely between light humour and weighty melancholia, and it's desperately in need of a third act to close with, but it's undeniably smart and affecting and almost quite brilliant.