I forgot that the day after Christmas is unofficial “take your family to the movies” day, so my friend and I were not thrilled when our little afternoon outing to go see Young Adult turned into 20 minutes of waiting in a theater lobby filled with kids and parents flocking to see Tin Tin and teenage couples waiting in line for New Years Eve. Of course, the crowd made us anxious about tickets being sold out and being able to get good seats together, but when we walked in to our theater it was basically empty. Turns out nobody thought Young Adult would be a feel-good holiday movie. And it’s not.
It’s classified as a “dark comedy” but it’s really more of just a “dark.” I was definitley not expecting Legally Blonde, which is why I wanted to go see it in the first place, but it’s a lot more depressing than I thought it would be. It has its funny moments and one-liners, but if you’re depressed, this movie might make you feel one of two things: glad to see a movie that doesn’t candy-coat life, or make you want to kill yourself. For me, I just have even less of a desire to visit Minnesota than I did before.
Charlize Theron does a great job of portraying Mavis, a 37-year old writer who lives in a haze of booze, diet coke, sweat pants and E! reality TV. Mavis is the star of her hometown – the prettiest, most popular girl in school who moves to the “big city” of Minneapolis (joke?) and becomes the successful author of a “Young Adult” book series. At this point in her life, though, she is in the middle of a deep depression. She has failed at having a normal life – didn’t stay married or have kids – and she is writing the last book in her series, which has been canceled. In some sort of crisis, Mavis seems to revert back to the teenagers she’s writing about and decides that the way to fix her life is to go back to her hometown and win back her high school sweetheart, Buddy, who is now married with a baby (and sucks).
The only thing that seems off and out of character for Mavis is that she carries around a fluffy little dog. She seems too self-involved to care about another being and too cynical to appreciate something cute and fluffy. Although the dog could be a glimpse into how she used to be before she got so depressed.
Soon, Mavis’ depression and perpetual hangovers go from amusing and slightly charming to disturbing as she becomes more and more delusional until she has a public meltdown at Buddy’s house. Mavis’ whole mission was triggered by the baby announcement she got from Buddy’s wife, Esme from Twilight (who has an alarmingly large head), and we find out why during her meltdown. It turns out Mavis was pregnant with Buddy’s baby when they were young and she lost it. She feels like a failure for not being able to give him a child when this new woman can, especially on top of being divorced. “I had Buddy’s miscarriage,” she says.
After this, she basically is able to get out of her fog a little bit and she goes back to Minneapolis in her Mini Cooper that she crashed into a lamp post. What we don’t know is if she makes a change or if she goes back to her miserable coma-like existence.
I wouldn’t say I disliked the movie but if you go see it, just know that you’re not going to leave feeling hopeful and happy – you might feel better about your own life though.