Young Adult Reviews

Top Critic
David Thomson
The New Republic
June 20, 2013
There has always been something so inward about [Theron;] she can seem detached or deprived. But here it's as if the script and the direction felt bound to heed that loneliness, and let the actress go with her bravery and the depressive sag of her mouth.
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Cath Clarke
Time Out
January 31, 2012
There is a raw honesty here rare in movies, and it's very funny too - excruciating at times.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Tom Long
Detroit News
December 16, 2011
Young Adult may be the year's most engaging feel-bad movie.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 16, 2011
There's little about Mavis that makes for feel-good revelry. That's an understatement, perhaps. Yet, Theron's work feels true to Mavis' malaise -- and often, just as sad.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 16, 2011
As good as Theron and Oswalt are, and they're very good, Young Adult doesn't give them enough room to breathe.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 16, 2011
A low-key, indie-style comedy that plays precariously close to an unfunny sociopathic case study.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 16, 2011
Clear-eyed, fearless and ferociously funny, "Young Adult" is mature filmmaking.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
December 16, 2011
There's enough grit in the film's gears to keep the forward motion from ever getting too smooth.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
December 15, 2011
The comedy of discomfort, so long defined by Curb Your Enthusiasm and its ilk, gets a new hue with Young Adult.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 15, 2011
Theron is thrillingly nasty as Mavis.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
December 15, 2011
The movie doesn't weigh that much, but it has a kind of point-blank piquancy that has gradually seeped out of American comedies, which now are mostly going for broad, topical gags that rarely venture into the relatable shadows of human behavior.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 15, 2011
Reitman makes bold choices with the story. Not all are fun to watch in the moment, but they add up to a satisfying portrait of a woman off the rails, someone we can laugh at even when we're horrified.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 15, 2011
It's enjoyable as a character study, of a character most of us wouldn't want to meet.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 14, 2011
Every time you're ready to write off Hollywood comedies, along comes a picture like Young Adult to keep hope alive.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Levin
The Atlantic
December 9, 2011
It trades in discomfort and unease, not catharsis. That's an achievement worthy of admiration, if you can endure it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 9, 2011
Theron does a fairly convincing job. It's the movie surrounding her that isn't quite so convincing.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
December 9, 2011
In a less acid romp, Mavis would learn life lessons in the final reel, but director Jason Reitman makes it a point not to let her off the hook.
Full Review | Original Score: 7.5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 9, 2011
"Young Adult" finally stumbles not because it tries to make us like Mavis, but because everyone else in it seems to, no matter what she does.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
December 9, 2011
It's an imperfect film, to be sure, but the movie's refusal to sacrifice its leading lady on the altar of Here's How to Behave feels downright revolutionary.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 9, 2011
Nobody ever said that adolescence was pretty, even if an increasing number of people are experiencing its final pangs on the cusp of middle age.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 8, 2011
A dark comedy that confirms Diablo Cody as a screenwriter of importance, eliminates the last shred of doubt that Jason Reitman is a major director and gives Charlize Theron her best showcase since "Monster."
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
December 8, 2011
There is a brashness of style that both Cody and Reitman embody - almost demanding that we not only laugh at, but like the unlikable side of the human condition.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Dan Kois
Slate
December 8, 2011
Young Adult doesn't fully work, but it's still one of the year's most memorable movies, a ruthless portrait of a heroine with a serious love/loathe relationship with herself.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 8, 2011
Screenwriter Diablo Cody has crafted a precisely drawn portrait of a surly, emotionally stunted woman.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 8, 2011
It's a step in a new direction, both for the creative team and for movies, a mature and humane comedy centered on a misanthropic female antihero. Think of it as "Juno's" wicked stepsister.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
December 8, 2011
In a thorny role, Theron is splendid; she instinctively reveals everything Mavis doesn't know about herself and offers an intimate peek into a wayward soul.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 8, 2011
What makes the movie marvelous is the same combination that the filmmaker and writer brought to "Juno" -- unerringly subtle yet precise direction plus a literate script with dramatic energy and a delicate tone.
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
December 8, 2011
The movie suffers from the sort of self-pitying fog that can envelop a writer when he dives into his own malaise.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 8, 2011
Patton Oswalt's dark duet with Charlize Theron is funny, touching and vital. But fair warning: The laughs in Young Adult leave bruises.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
December 8, 2011
"Young Adult" may at times be stuck between emotional gears, but that's by design. Like its heroine, the movie refuses to pick up after itself.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 8, 2011
Shorter than a bad blind date and as sour as a vinegar Popsicle, "Young Adult" shrouds its brilliant, brave and breathtakingly cynical heart in the superficial blandness of commercial comedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 8, 2011
Theron nails the specifics of her character, all the distress signals, from the nervous hair-pulling to the relentless default sarcasm.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Alison Willmore
AV Club
December 8, 2011
It's an empathetic but bravely brittle portrait of an aging queen bee that showcases a nuanced performance from Theron as a woman too used to being admired to admit how lonely and desperate she's become.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 8, 2011
As I absorbed it, I realized what a fearless character study it is. That sometimes it's funny doesn't hurt.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
December 7, 2011
Charlize Theron delivers one of the most impressive performances of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
December 7, 2011
Ms. Theron, a true beauty and one of the screen's most exquisite actors, keeps the film airborne even when it seems dangerously earthbound. She's a one-woman emergency rescue squad.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
December 7, 2011
The really pretty Theron captures that state of really ugly inner childishness (articulated so sharply by Cody) with such precision, it makes you want to hear stories of her own high school experience.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 7, 2011
The attitude toward the protagonist is thinly-veiled contempt ... until, in the last 20 minutes or so, they attempt to turn her into an object of sympathy. It doesn't work and, on balance, neither does Young Adult.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
December 6, 2011
There are plenty of sharp aperçus and poignant character moments in "Young Adult," to be sure, but it's hard to tell where the movie's awkward comic knife edge slides away into clunkiness.
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Stephen Garrett
Time Out
December 6, 2011
While one might be tempted to call it mature, that word suggests a capacity for self-evaluation and unsentimental levity.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
December 6, 2011
In the vein of Alexander Payne, Reitman finds just the right affectionately mocking tone in taking some jabs at small-town Midwestern life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 6, 2011
Young Adult might be brushed off as curdled rom-com were it not for two things. The first is the depth of Theron's performance.
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Peter Debruge
Variety
December 5, 2011
Reteaming pop-savvy scribe Diablo Cody with Juno director Jason Reitman, Young Adult revels in breaking the rules of safe Hollywood storytelling.
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Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
December 5, 2011
...the film and its cast portray the [characters] with steadfastness, precision, empathy and a kind of poignant wisdom.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
December 5, 2011
On a scene-by-scene basis, Young Adult entirely engages with its smart exchanges between characters who are well equipped with rough edges and raw nerves.