Young Adult (2011)



Critic Consensus: Despite its somewhat dour approach, Young Adult is a funny and ultimately powerful no-holds-barred examination of prolonged adolescence, thanks largely to a convincing performance by Charlize Theron.

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Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a writer of teen literature who returns to her small hometown to relive her glory days and attempt to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). When returning home proves more difficult than she thought, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate (Patton Oswalt) who hasn't quite gotten over high school, either. -- (C) Paramount
R (for language and some sexual content)
Comedy , Drama
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Charlize Theron
as Mavis Gary
Patton Oswalt
as Matt Freehauf
Patrick Wilson
as Buddy Slade
Elizabeth Reaser
as Beth Slade
Collette Wolfe
as Sandra Freehauf
Jill Eikenberry
as Hedda Gary
Richard Bekins
as David Gary
Kate Nowlin
as Mary Ellen Trantowski
Jenny Dare Paulin
as Nipple Confusion Bassist
Rebecca Hart
as Nipple Confusion Bassist
Louisa Krause
as Front Desk Girl
Elizabeth Ward Land
as Sales Lady
Brian McElhaney
as Book Associate
John Forest
as Wheelchair Mike
Rightor Doyle
as Babysitter
Brady Smith
as Date Man
Timothy Young
as Champions Server
Erin Darke
as Teen Employee
Jee Young Han
as Teen Employee
Matt Wilson
as Teenage Clerk
Orlagh Cassidy
as Party Guest
Charles Techman
as Parking Attendant
Emily Meade
as Denny's Waitress
Neil Hellegers
as Young Dad
Michael Nathanson
as Champions Greeter
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Critic Reviews for Young Adult

All Critics (182) | Top Critics (46)

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.

Full Review… | June 20, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

There is a raw honesty here rare in movies, and it's very funny too - excruciating at times.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

Young Adult may be the year's most engaging feel-bad movie.

Full Review… | December 16, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

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.

December 16, 2011
Denver Post
Top Critic

As good as Theron and Oswalt are, and they're very good, Young Adult doesn't give them enough room to breathe.

December 16, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

A low-key, indie-style comedy that plays precariously close to an unfunny sociopathic case study.

Full Review… | December 15, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Young Adult

Charlize Theron is perfect once again after shining as Aileen Wuornos in Monster, making it easy for us to feel sympathy for a character who is so immature and selfish - thanks also to Diablo Cody, who wrote a smart script and really knows how to blend dark humor and bitterness.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Diablo Cody has previously written Juno and Jennifer's Body, and I got to admit, I really don't enjoy her work. However with Young Adults I was surprised. Charlize Theron is a great actress, and what I love about her is that not only is she beautiful, but she has acting skills and is not just a pretty face. In this film she really delivers a wonderful performance that is funny and sad at the same time. The plot is quite interesting, and I was surprised I enjoyed the film like I did. However the strength of the movie lies with Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt's chemistry and for me, I really felt that it's what made the movie work. Even with my reservations of Cody's work, I'll say that this is her best script, and it is by far better than the overrated Juno. Young Adults combines comedy and drama perfectly and that's only matched by a fine cast and great direction. If you want a great dramatic comedy, then this is the film to watch. Theron is wonderful here and she yet again displays her talent on-screen in a performance that is one of her best in many years. There are things that could have been improved upon, but overall this is an engaging movie that is worth seeing. Young Adults is a fine film that is worth seeing. Charlize Theron does impressive work yet again and is perfect for the part she plays. The film has few flaws, but overall is an entertaining drama with just the right amount of humor to make it interesting.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman team up again to give us a second honest story about the Midwest, and it hits just as hard and contains as many awkward laughs - maybe more - than their first joint, Juno. Charlize Theron repulses in this film as the successful, beautiful New Yorker who comes home to get her dream man and her sense of self back only to implode in the process. It's not a normal film in that it doesn't wrap itself up in a tidy little bow, but rather one with which you hobble toward the ending, hoping to cross the line but worried that you just won't make it. I've read a lot of mixed reviews, and I think the reason is that in places - particularly a baby shower that the titular author ruins - it's completely uncomfortable to watch. A valuable work because it gets down in the trenches, the pain and the mud of the ordinary, the relative-to-the-observer meanings of "normal," or "accomplished," or "happy." A challenging work from the mainstream with a detestable anti-hero, and a film that's the better for it. Jason Reitman is climbing my list of favourite directors.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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