I've seen Young Adult twice now (because I love it) but neither of those times was in a cinema in England, the rightful place, I think we'll all agree for doing things like watching films. But no: across the three major cinema chains in England, I think Young Adult was showing on about 30 locations, when combined they must have at least 350 locations in the UK. And this pisses me off SO much, because hey, what do you need to do to get your film widely distributed? Win an Oscar for your screenplay writing skills? Have an Oscar winning actress in the leading role? Direct Oscar-nomiated performances? Nope, none of that thanks, you just have to be in 3D, and, I have to assume, really really crap (I'm looking at you, Ghost Rider 2 *shakes fist at Nicholas Cage*).
This isn't even the first time I've been deprived of Diablo Cody-ness! United States of Tara (RIP) was never shown in the UK, for no discernable reason I can think of, other than some kind of strange vendetta against Cody. I think it might have been Cody herself who said that there's a lot less trust when women are involved in filmmaking, in that they're checked up on a lot more, and a lot less is invested in them (I may be getting that confused with Drew Barrymore, when she directed Whip It, another film that wasn't released anywhere, and where it was released it was out for about a week) and I guess that's something that's reflected in a limited release- if there's no guarantee that screens are going to be full, then no one wants to take the risk of putting out films that are slightly edgy/about anything interesting at all. I understand that a lot of movies that I would classify as being like this are also indie movies, and so they have all sorts of other problems with finances, but Young Adult was financed, at least in part, by Paramount. Who have plenty of money. Hmm.
Anyway, it's such a shame because Young Adult is a great movie that so many people aren't going to be bothered to seek out and watch, and so are going to miss out on it. It's funny, it's sad, it's disturbing, but above all else, it's real. I know I've waxed lyrical before about how much better indie films are than (most) big studio productions, because they reveal so much more about life and about ourselves; and Young Adult is no exception. Charlize Theron is brilliant and hilarious as Mavis Gary, a YA writer who does, herself, refuse to grow up and move on with her life. Upon hearing that her high school boyfriend has just had a baby, she decides to go back to her tiny hometown (for which she has plenty of contempt) in an attempt to win him back and so to get the life that she thinks she deserves.
Nothing about this decision strikes Mavis as slightly insane, and it takes a really great Patton Oswalt (as Matt, a guy who Mavis went to high school with who was crippled after some jocks beat him up because they thought he was gay) to attempt to reason with her, and make her see that her actions are unhinged/foolish/vindictive/not very well thought through. Not that he ever really gets this through to her, but he tries, and because he is the only person paying the kind of attention she wants to her, Mavis ends up hanging out with him more and more, as Buddy (her ex, played by the oh-so-loveable Patrick Wilson) repeatedly shows her how much he loves his wife and new baby.
All the characters are so real, and nothing about their actions is even that predictable or cliched. I've seen some criticism of this film where reviewers have said that it's kind of lame because Mavis doesn't grow or change as a result of the things that happen in the film. This has annoyed me considerably because 1) that's not really true, and although I can't really explain why because it's kind of a thing at the end that would be a bummer if I gave it away, 2) it's not the kind of film where the woman has to be a reformed character at the end because she's been less-than-perfect throughout- I mean, Mavis is genuinely unlikeable, but there's nothing to say that unlikeable characters suddenly have to turn likeable because a film is ending, and 3) in real life, she wouldn't change. She just wouldn't. Hence, a reinforcement of the 'real' thing, and really just another reason why I like this film.
At least, I'm pretty sure I do. Crappy audio, and fuzzy visuals do not exactly make for the best film watching experience, so ask me again when it comes out on DVD. Or better yet, ask the cinemas why they didn't give it a wider release. Because here's what I think. Sometimes people don't know what's good for them, and so will just go and see Ghost Rider 2 because, hey, you get to wear those fun glasses, and Nicholas Cage isn't the most annoying human being ever or anything! Why make that easier for them by not even giving them the option of seeing something that's a lot more real, but still entertaining and engaging? Films like Young Adult are never going to make money when there's no confidence in them, and there isn't going to be any confidence in films like Young Adult while they're not making any money. It's a vicious, and kind of ridiculous cycle, and one that I'd like to stop, right now, please.