Soon after her divorce, fiction writer Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson), who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter. This dark comedy was directed by Jason Reitman from a screenplay written by Diablo Cody. They worked together before on “Juno” which I thought was a better film. This is a good film just that I liked Juno a little more.
This is the reason why I will never go to a High School Reunion. There is not an actual High School Reunion but it felt that way watching. Mavis left her small-town to become a big deal while everyone else stayed. Many of the characters did not evolve from Highs School which is evident when one of character refers to Mavis as “psychotic prom queen b____.” There is truth in the statement but still after many years move on.
The interesting thing for me to watch was the friendship between Mavis and Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt). Matt and Mavis had neighboring lockers for three years yet Mavis didn’t really acknowledge Matt during those years. She was the cool, hip girl while Matt was the fat dork. I do understand why these two would be friends years later, he still looks up to her as a goddess while she needs that admiration.
Interesting thing, I know someone who was very popular in High School. College and later life wasn’t as good to him. He hooked up recently with a girl who thought the world of him during those early years. I mention this as the only likeable character in this movie is Buddy’s wife Beth (Elizabeth Reaser). She’s the girl that idolized Buddy in High School who was able to hook up with him when Mavis left town.
This movie is definitely a dark comedy. The jokes are subtle. This is one of those movies where the viewer has to think. The character Matt became partially disabled in High School after being beaten by jocks who assumed he was gay. Matt is not gay however watching the dialogue between Mavis and Buddy early we learn Mavis started the rumor. The narcissistic Mavis doesn’t have a clue what damage she erroneously caused him. I picked up on this but not sure too many other viewers did.
Mavis is not likeable. Her character reminded me in some ways of “Travis Bickle” from the 1976 classic film “Taxi Driver.” Both characters are delusional living in their own world and not aware of what is going on around them. I thought it was entertaining to watch but wouldn’t want them in my life. I am giving this movie 3.4 stars. It is well acted, the story flowed and it had me thinking about the decisions I have made in my life.
On a different note from watching this movie I learned that Minneapolis is sometimes called the “Mini-Apple.” I like learning something new.
Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.
All the best,
The Film Movie Critic