Title: Young Adult
Released: 2011

When we first heard that Diablo Cody was writing a script about a young adult writer, we were immediately intrigued. Sure, we really wish she would focus on that Sweet Valley High movie because NEED IT NOW, but we adore YA authors (obvs), so of course we’d love to see one of them portrayed on the silver screen.

After watching a sneak screening on Monday, Jenny and I want to tell you two things important to enjoying this movie:

  1. Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is not meant to represent or embody any YA author we know.
  2. This film is fantastic, but it has nothing to do with YA literature.

If you can handle that truth, then you should really check out this movie in December. Here’s why:

[Don’t worry, we will abide by our policy of refraining from major spoilers]

First of all, the poster. THE POSTER. The poster is a thing of beauty, and like any good book cover, it accurately displays the story’s contents, all of which appeal to me:

  1. A clearly non-functioning adult who likes to party. (Hmm. Sounds familiar.)
  2. A super cute dog!

Ok, so obvs the movie features way more elements than that. I’ll let the trailer do its work:

Now that we’re all aware of the basic storyline, I hope you can see why no one should go into this movie thinking that it’s a positive or fun representation of YA or YA authors. It’s totally not, because it’s not about that at all. Instead, it’s about a garbage woman who can’t deal with the reality of adulthood, so she clings to her glory days in high school. And to alcohol. Girl gets very clingy with her alcohol. (Don’t we all?!!)

It’s a dark, effed up story, illuminated only by the brilliant performances of the actors and the sharp dialogue. (I particularly loved Mavis’ teen vernacular, which it will not shock you to know is very similar to mine.) Mavis is a terrible person, and yet somehow, by the end, I found myself rooting for her. And I love it when movies surprise me like that. As offended as I was by her pathological self-absorption, I actually kind of admired her (misguided) ambition and balls-to-the-wall insanity. She’s basically Regina George, 20 years later.

I’ll now hand it over to Jenny for a general review, but I do hope y’all will check it out, then come back here and share your thoughts with us. Then we can all collectively give thanks that we don’t actually know a YA author like Mavis Gary.

If you’re like me, and hadn’t seen the trailer for this movie, you might be surprised by how little it is actually about YA. I mean, I was all prepared for a story about a lady who writes fantastic books in the young adult genre and lives in a cool flat in an even cooler city with fantastic friends who have slumber parties and drink cocktails and eat delicious food and thoroughly enjoy releasing their inner YA selves while maintaining a healthy adult life!!!!

This movie is not about that. Instead, it is probably one of the saddest, funniest, most beautiful stories about incredibly dysfunctional people I’ve seen in years.

Charlize Theron pours her heart and soul into the character of Mavis, with all of her egomaniacal and self-destructive shenanigans not withstanding. I laughed out loud and cringed and cheered — both for her and against her.

Patton Oswalt shines like I’ve never seen him before, breaking out of his usual mold with Matt, the mistaken victim of a hate crime, and his chemistry with Charlize Theron is outstanding. The two of them together make one of the most enjoyable on-screen duos as two people completely trapped in a state of arrested development, bonding together over their malcontent.

With all this, Young Adult left a huge smile on my face and a heart full of hopes that even the worst sort of people could get their acts together. Maybe.

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.