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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Young Adult

   
Author Topic: Young Adult
Stone_Wolf_
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A little back story: My wife and I almost never get to go see a movie in the theater, what with two small children, a tight budget and all. So yesterday was my wife's birthday, and my dad gave her movie tickets and babysitting as a present. We had a lovely meal of Mexican food (a gift from my grandmother) and went to see Young Adult (as Hugo was only available in 3D and she struggles with migraines).

We both loved Juno, and also really enjoyed the first season of The United States of Tera, so we had reason to think that we would like Young Adult, the latest writing product of Diablo Cody. Well, we didn't like it. With reason.

The movie is depressing, and just sad really. The main character played by Charlize Theron is a divorced, alcoholic, ex-prom queen, ghost writer who travels to her childhood small town to try to lure away her high school flame from his happy marriage and new born daughter.

The off kilter, self deprecating humor which makes Juno such a delight, in Young Adult just highlights the sad state of the main character's life and her lack of ability be happy with anything or anyone. The movie often cuts to her writing, the final book of a failing series of supernatural high school drama, and her writing only reinforces her lack of being in touch with reality and taking the wrong lessons from her life.

**SPOILERS**

The worst part is that after suffering a horribly (and I do mean horrible, for us the viewer) embarrassing break down at the naming party for her ex's baby where she unsuccessfully throws herself at him, she is ready to finally admit she needs to change and grow and instead gets the worst possible advice from someone who worshiped her in high school and can only see her (marginal) success. The end result is she learns nothing and continues on as a morally bankrupt, selfish, shallow depressive drunk.

The end.

A truly bad movie, which is truly darkly funny on rare occasion and just sad the rest of the time.

The perfect movie to drink a whole bottle of cheap whiskey by yourself before you slit your wrists in the bathtub.

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Synesthesia
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I do not like those kind of movies. Like von Trier movies that make me want to substitute whiskey for absinthe and I have NO TOLERANCE for alcohol at all.
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Sala
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I heard an interview with Diablo Cody and she said that her husband said that of all the characters she has written, the Charlize Theron character is the most like her. Hmmmm.
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TomDavidson
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I would have thought that the main protagonist is a transparent stand-in for Diablo Cody, actually.
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AchillesHeel
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I have already reviewed this on another site, so I'll just do some secret copy and paste magic. Also this is non-spoilery.

So right off the bat, the movie was directed by Jason Reitman who also directed Thank You For Smoking and Juno, and is the son of Ivan Reitman who directed the Ghostbusters movies. Starring Charlize Theron and the only other recognizable face is Patton Oswald, the movie has a very cruel dry sense of humor, and uses uncomfortable silence as a powerful tool in a lot of scenes.

Theron does something with this character that I can't remember ever noticing about her performances prior, I completely believed her as a born and raised American. That isn't to disparage her past work (Monster was extremely well done) but I can't point out another role where she had to rely so heavily on modern American culture norms, not just aesthetically but the mannerisms of an upper class citizen with lower middle class roots.

This was my second favorite acting performance that I've seen from Patton Oswald, the first being his confession scene in Dollhouse when he tells the first person story of a rich man spending his life chasing the ghost of his dead wife, some are praising Oswald with remarks of "who knew he could act?" which could be cutting in regards to his lengthy and earnest career but what can you do. Now I really took to his character, not only am I fan of Oswald's comedy but I happen to share much of his barest character synopsis: overweight, nerdy and disabled. His role has much to do with surviving a violent trauma, I was born with a congenital deformity but the personal interactions he showed were well known to me all the same. As a real life counter point to this fictional character I feel I have the ability to say that much of what he did and did not do was right on the money, I appreciate seeing a fair portrayal of someone like myself in a movie as I never had before.

Fair portrayal, I think that's a good way to prepare an unsuspecting viewer for this film. The protagonist is much less 'pro' and a lot more 'anti' in regards to her own goals and life, as a matter of fact if not for the framing of the big screen a person like this would not have much of a chance of surviving their own inflictions. Bad people aren't just bad, they are volatile and self righteous and not to mention borderline sociopathic. Good people aren't just good, they lack conviction and allow people who are a danger to themselves and others crash around like a mini tornado ultimately casting shame on everyone involved. A lot like reality.

Its not Juno, all innuendo and Ellen Page adorable.
Its not Thank You For Smoking, with double layered smarminess and charm.
What it is, is a unique story that doesn't shy away from just how horrible and stupid people are, like a curmudgeon balking at the optimism of the younger prettier movies.

I only just saw it today and I'm not happy with the ending or the characters, but I am very impressed with the film as a whole story.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I'd like to mention that Patton Oswald's performance is the only slightly positive thing about this movie, but is hardly enough to go see it. In the end, his character, while true to life as AH pointed out, brings no real illumination of anything deep or profound nor significantly grows or learns anything (no one does).
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scifibum
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I have a perverse attraction to depressing movies. This makes me want to see it.
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