Young Adult 2011 ★★★★

I enjoyed this film far more than I expected to. While I have my problems with Juno and United States of Tara (haven't seen Jennifer's Body), Cody is definitely maturing and this is by far her most accomplished screenplay yet. In a setting that's rife with clichés, Cody and Reitman manage to avoid them and make an unsentimental movie about something rarely (if ever?) seen in drama: an older woman trying to rekindle the "best years of her life" in high school. This is well trod territory (with a male protagonist) but Cody and Reitman pull it off with aplomb. I can't think of a better choice than Charlize Theron in the role, and she is fantastic. She plays a 37 year-old woman who is broken: unlikeable, neurotic, and an alcoholic. Her growth as an adult, like Patton Oswalt's crippled nerd, stopped long ago in high school (they are still "young adults" in many ways). Parts of the film are funny, but the bits are mostly dark, uncomfortable humor. I specifically enjoyed the aspects of the film that felt true and yet were wisely devoid of sentimentality. A great film.

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