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Brilliant, brave and dark comedy from the director of Up In The Air and writer of Juno, introduced and discussed by philosopher Sam Henschke
What role should teenage trauma play in our adult selves, and if we seek to move on from our youth, how free are we to create a new self? Young Adult is a dark comedy about Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), an author of young adult fiction. Recently divorced, she returns to her home town in an attempt to rekindle a relationship with an ex-boyfriend. Her trip instead sees her spending time with Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt), an old classmate and forces her to revisit her past in ways that she did not anticipate.
Beyond the comedic aspects, the film deals with the long tail of trauma. It causes us to reflect on the relationship between our younger selves, and what role the past should play in our present self. Is our most authentic self that which was formed in our youth, or is the authentic self that which we seek to create now? The film is also an interesting reflection upon family responsibility - Is an adult wholly responsible for their unpleasant personality, or should we also see their parents being held accountable for who they are now? Young Adult considers the autobiographical fiction of our lives and encourages us to reflect upon who we were, who we might be now, and what selves we might become in the future.