“Young Adult” is a movie about a seriously messed up writer (Charlize Theron) who comes back to her hometown to steal back her now happily-married high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). Theron plays tragic heroine Mavis Gay, who alienates the audiences with her antics. The story follows Gay, an aging, divorced, alcoholic writer of young adult fiction, as she travels back to the town where she was crowned prom queen.
Mavis is a modern day Ben Braddock, and her determination to win back Buddy (Wilson) is not motivated by feelings of love anymore than Ben’s motivation to break up Elaine’s wedding. Both Ben and Mavis desperately seek purpose in their lives, and find temporary relief in the chase of what they cannot have. Mavis has convinced herself that Buddy is the answer to all of her problems, but he is not. He is just a mirage.
The movie was written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman, the same pair that brought the world “Juno.” The movie has some funny moments, which involve the presence of Patton Oswalt, who plays Matt, a loser in high school that was crippled after being beat up by some jocks. Oswalt is fantastic. The connection between Mavis and him is captivating and hilarious, as he is the only one who knows her plans and continues talking to her.
The movie is probably the best of the year, but it racked up a sum total of zero nominations last week. It is well-acted, well-written, and well-directed. Its absence from the nominations is a travesty that the Academy will be working off for years to come. Hopefully, the movie is still remembered as the masterful character study it truly is.