By Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
In Jason Reitman’s new film, written by
Diablo Cody who won an Oscar for “Juno” (2008), the young adult of their film
is a divorced, disturbed, alcoholic ghostwriter of adolescent fiction named
Mavis, played by Charlize Theron.
“Young Adult” tries hard to be witty but it falls flat at
every turn. It is a bleak excursion into the soul of a person who does not even
realize she has one. Even the one likeable character, Matt, played by Patton
Oswalt, loses his footing and falls prey to Mavis’ bleak search for what she
cannot have and certainly does not deserve.
When Mavis receives an email announcing the birth of the
daughter of an old high school flame, Buddy, played by Patrick Wilson, she gets
it into her head that Buddy needs to be rescued from the marriage trap of their
small town. She barges in and tries to attract him even as her own career is
tanking. The confrontation comes at the baby’s “naming ceremony”, you know, not
religious or anything like that as Buddy explains.
To be fair, we find out that Mavis has a deep hidden sorrow
that most audiences would sympathize with, but the story is so over acted and
under developed, that we just want Mavis to go away at the end and leave the
world alone. Buddy and his wife, as pagan as they seem, are actually very
charitable toward Mavis who is too blind to even notice.
Matt’s sister Sandra, played by Colette Wolfe, wants to
escape her world, too, but the advice she gives Mavis is so bleak and borne of
her own unfruitful life, that I could only speculate as to why on earth anyone
made this movie.
The couple sitting next to me seemed happy with the film so
I asked the young man, “Did you like it?” He responded, “Yes, I did. I didn’t
even want to come but I did like it.” I asked him why and he said smiling,
“Because it was a wreck, her life was a wreck.” I replied that I didn’t like
the film at all. “Maybe because it didn’t have closure, “ he said. “No, I
didn’t like it because it didn’t have an opening for anything – no joy, no
grace, no relationships.” I know it didn’t make me happy to think that there
may be young adults out there trying to muddle through life without a goal,
meaning, friends or counting on their family when things are difficult, as
clueless as they may be. Why celebrate pain or a train wreck? Where is family
and community? Yes, some young adults are lost but hopefully seeking. Mavis is
Not even Oscar winner Charlize Theron can save this
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