Young Adult is the latest offering from the writer and director team responsible for Juno – Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman.
Where the action in Juno revolved around the consequences of an unplanned teenage pregnancy, the story in Young Adult is kickstarted by the arrival of a picture of a newborn baby in the inbox of Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) – divorced alcoholic, ghost-writer of teen-fiction.
The baby in question belongs to Mavis’s high school boyfriend Buddy and so Mavis, somehow interpreting this email as a cry for help, resolves to set off back to her small town roots to rescue Buddy (Patrick Wilson) from his boring new family and take him back to the excitement of big city life (Minneapolis) with her.
Obviously, the way Mavis sees Buddy’s life is not the way he sees it and it is this mismatch that provides the tension that drives the story forward as Mavis tries to engineer situations where she and Buddy might rekindle their high school romance while the rest of the old cohort watch in disbelief or disgust at the fall of the queen bee they once worshipped (or hated).
All in all, Charlize Theron is brilliantly nasty but then unbearably tragic in this interesting study of a mid-life crisis from a female perspective and the differences between the contributing factors in social hierarchy during school contrasted to the things that matter in the adult world.