Directed By: Jason Reitman
Written By: Diablo Cody
Main Cast: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt
A Young-Adult Fiction writer who is about to start writing the last instalment of a series finds out that her ex-boyfriend has had a child. With this information on the brain, she ends up visiting her home-town where she decides that she will try and win him back, even though he is happily married with a newborn daughter.
TWO OUT OF FIVE STARS **
Unfortunately, while this film held potential and could have been an extremely decent film, for this blogger, it simply flopped. While there were good moments within this film and it had good, rich and raw cinematography, it simply wasn’t a good movie overall. It was hard to empathize with the main protagonist and it was this major flaw in the narration that really forces the film to lose its desire. It is extremely difficult to sit through a film when all you really want to do is shake the protagonist and tell her to get a grip and move on.
Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary who had been one of the most popular girls in highschool, who went out with one of the jocks. After high school ended, however, she left for the city and eventually started writing a series of Young Adult books. It is shown from the very beginning of the film that she is living in a slump. She wakes up in a crashed out position on her bed and the rest of her apartment is messy and untidy, just the same as her appearance. This persona continues throughout the film as Mavis travels to her home town and tries to act the same as she did when she was in high-school. She is one of the most annoying protagonists that I have watched in a long time and I really found it difficult to keep focused on the film. I was curious, hoping that her journey would end up somewhere, that she might learn a lesson from it all but by the end of the film, it just seemed that nothing had changed.
Theron, however, manages to truly perfect this personality. It is difficult to imagine anyone else portraying this character any better. It is therefore extremely unfortunate that Charlize may never be seen for her full potential as many people may be put off of this film, especially as her character is supposed to be hated. While this can be successful within films, usually because by the end of the film they have transformed their lives, and the audience can fully understand the journey that has taken place, in this film, it simply does not work. Mavis Gary leaves her home town in the same way that she left – in a state. There are hints that she might be changing her act and will get better but this is never explicitly spoken or shown and therefore I found it increasingly difficult to appreciate the film as a whole.
Another frustrating thing about this film was the novel that Mavis was writing. It is obvious that the story she is writing interlinks with her own life and so the acknowledgment that this is the last instalment can be a sign that this is her chance to change, but once again, this is never actually stated. The story itself, which had parts told in voiceover, was possibly the worst story that I have ever heard. From the very first sentence, only five minutes into the film, I knew that if it had been a real book, I would never bother to read it. It, like the film, had the most annoying protagonist and, just as I struggled to watch, I would have struggled to read. As an avid reader, blogger and film-goer, this upset me as the idea of having a book linked to the life of an author is such a lovely concept, but it just did not work within this film.
However, despite all of these moments, the film did have some good moments. There were times when a scene would fully capture my attention and cause me to laugh out loud. And there were some moments when I was left craving more, wanting to hear more of the conversation. Unfortunately though, this moments were few and far between. I did like the final climax scene and I found that this was quite rich and raw with emotions and I almost felt a little empathy towards Mavis as I managed to place myself in her shoes, but then this was ripped from me again when she reverted back to the way she was before, as though the realisation of everything that had just happened didn’t affect her in the slightest. This, in fact, possibly made the film worse for me as I almost thought that I could see where this film was going, could almost imagine it getting better, and then that was taken away from me at the last moment.
All in all, this film just didn’t seem to have a purpose. I could not get an overall theme from it and just found it too difficult to get into. I was infuriated by the main protagonist throughout the film and simply couldn’t get my head around the ambiguous ending. So, while I held high expectations of this film, it unfortunately didn’t uphold to them and therefore I found that I just could not enjoy this film. Which is a shame, because it would have been the perfect film for me to love as I love films and young adult books. Maybe next time?