Young Adult (2011)
Dir: Jason Reitman
Don’t email your ex out of the blue… you never know what trouble it may cause!
‘Young Adult’ is the second collaboration between director Jason Reitman, and writer Diablo Cody, who previously joined forces on ‘Juno’, which still stands as one of my favourite films. It follows Mavis (Charlize Theron) as she returns to her hometown after receiving an email from her high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson) announcing the birth of his first child. However Mavis isn’t returning to wish him and his wife well, but rather to win him back, as she takes it as a sign that they were always meant to be together.
This is a film that clearly features a main character who is struggling with at least a couple of serious mental health problems, with depression and alcoholism mentioned outright. Whether it deals with these in the best way, I’m not so sure, as the consequences of Mavis’ erratic behaviour are not really treated as seriously as they could be. Many moments though are clearly uncomfortable to watch, and give pause for thought, which allow for the viewer to take them in and possibly therein lies the chance for reflection on how bad the situation really is.
In Diablo Cody’s writing is again, as seen previously with ‘Juno’, a real ear for dialogue. The character of Mavis, who is a writer for a series of books for young adults, is often shown using bits of conversations overheard in her daily life as inspiration and speech in her work, and I assume that Diablo Cody does the same.
Though not as much fun as ‘Juno’, this film gives you the feeling of a screenwriter who is maturing, even if her character struggles to do the same.