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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Young Adult

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

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 just sinking.

  Not even Oscar winner Charlize Theron can save this movie.


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