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Medoken
Jul 2, 2006

I AM A FAGET FOR BOB SAGET

I just saw Young Adult starring Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt, and while I went into the film not knowing anything about it except that the previews made it seem like a quirky comedy about Theron reuniting with her old high school flame, I came out pleased that I took a chance on this movie.

The basic premise is that Theron's character is a depressed, alcoholic young adult fiction writer who hears that her old high school beau has just had a baby. She decides to travel home to her small town in nowhere Minnesota to win back her ex and relive the glory of their youthful passion. While she's there she meets Patton Oswalt's character, who is a crippled drunk and nerd. Predictably, Oswalt remembers her from high school where he was the quiet, forgettable loser who spent everyday pining for her from afar.

The unlikely connection and the satisfying chemistry between Theron and Oswalt drive the emotional core of this midnight dark comedy. While Theron's presence on the screen dominated my attention, making me both deeply uncomfortable and irresistibly voyeuristic, it was her continual return to Oswalt, and their easy rapport that turned this film from a quirky, sad comedy into the black ball of despair and hilarity that left me thrilled and intrigued.

The climax of this film was seat-squirmingly uncomfortable for me to watch, but it had me smiling like an idiot and convinced of the director's superb vision. Without giving anything away, Theron is invited to a naming ceremony for her ex's baby, where, in a matter of minutes, she goes from professing her love for the ex in the saccharine sweet sixteen language of adolescence to mind-numbingly drunk, belligerent, and brutal. In a scene that had me covering my face from the sheer embarrassment I felt, Theron delivered a blistering, beautiful, and honest critique of her ex, his wife, their friends, and the entire polite lie of suburban Midwest life.

With a denouement that resisted simple closure, I was stuck with several questions that didn't have quick answers, but after some thought convinced me of both the director's and writer's intimate familiarity with depression and alcoholism.

After their sex scene, Oswalt answers Theron by saying that, no, she wasn't at her best in high school. He tells her that he spent everyday watching her from the locker next to hers, and she never saw him, spending her time looking into her mirror, obsessed with herself. That she missed him when he was at his best. When Theron has breakfast with Oswalt's sister she is on the brink of change, enduring a crisis of confidence in the illusion of herself that she has spent 20 years worshiping. Unfortunately, coincidentally, Oswalt's sister has the same arrested development as Theron and Oswalt: she needs to worship Theron in order to redeem her own sense of failure from high school. Oswalt's sister acts as another mirror; while Theron is being introspectively honest with herself for the first time in the film, Oswalt's sister rejects that depth, repeating the same mantra of selfishness and self-delusion that Theron has been absorbed with since her adolescence. The failure of Theron's character to alter her most basic tenets of identity at this seminal moment is a deeply honest assessment of the complexities of depression, alcoholism, and ego-centrism.

5/5

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Ka0
Sep 16, 2002


AS A PROUD GAMERGATER THE ONLY THING I HATE MORE THAN WOMEN ARE GAYS AND TRANS PEOPLE


It wasn't surprising to like this movie. Charlize Theron delivers yet another outstanding performance as a deeply, innerly-mutilated creature stuck on her past glory days of high school. She plays the part of pathetic alcoholic with subtlety instead of obnoxiousness. Patton Oswald actually acts and he is convincingly effective. The whole premise is an actual wonder considering Diablo Cody wrote it (Juno, Paradise, Jennifer's Body) which leads me to declare Reitman and the actor's deserve full credit. Definitely watch this 5/5

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