I wouldn’t say I had serious expectations for this film, but it was getting Oscar buzz, and Charlize Theron hadn’t done a movie in two years. Add to the fact that the film was being directed by Jason Reitman, and we should have a solid overall product.
Theron is center stage here as she plays Mavis Gary, a ghost writer from Minneapolis, who ventures back to her small town to try and win back the heart of an old flame.
Mavis has a colored history though, she wasn’t the most liked girl in high school, the prom queen, and big bitch of the school, so her return wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms.
She sets her sights on Buddy Slade, played by Patrick Wilson, the old boy friend who in her eyes, got away.
Few supporting roles to mention here, Patton Oswalt plays Matt Freehauf, the quirky loser from high school, who stuck around and becomes an odd connection between Mavis and Buddy. He is almost the buffer, the Jiminy Cricket that sits on the shoulders of Mavis.
Elizabeth Reaser plays Buddy’s wife, Beth, the woman who Mavis envies and is trying to kick to the curb, even though they just had a baby.
It’s hard to find the place to start with this film, from the get go it rubs you the wrong way, being annoying, pretentious and Theron, to her credit, plays the annoying bitch like a champ. But it comes off as a pompous, irresponsible and conniving that doesn’t connect with the audience. I was so put off to the film in the first 15 minutes, simply because the way Mavis was portrayed. I didn’t lose interest, I just got angry that this is the film I was being subject to.
The story is so monotonous, following Mavis as she throws herself at Buddy, in the most unattractive ways, breaking up a happy home, going where she is not welcome or where she belongs. There is a formula to the process which takes place between Mavis, Buddy and Beth and ultimately Matt.
You get the dramatic rekindling, the confrontation and the self loathing, all the while without too much backstory of Mavis herself. You don’t feel too connected to any of the characters. All I kept thinking was this story is so stupid and predictable, no scene blew me away, and the obvious scenes were so horrible to watch, loud sighs were made.
There is a scene towards the end of climax of the film with Mavis and Matt that made me shake my head because of the stupidity and lack of sensical transition along with realism.
Sure Theron delivers a performance that is impressive because she effortlessly makes you despise her character, from the way she talks to people to her actions with others, she as mortifying a human being as there are. So I guess she gets props for that, but the tone of the film is so harshly negative that it leave a bad taste in your mind throughout.
At no point did I sit back and really enjoy the film, the story was forced and some of the transitions between scenes, mostly towards the end were mind numbingly inane.
I assume Theron may be nominated for Best Actress due to a skimpy field already, not that she doesn’t do a good job, but it certainly didn’t wow me, like Rooney Mara did.
We follow Mavis as she is penning the last book in her use-to-be popular young adult series, that is basically a play-by-play account of her trying to win back Buddy, but in story form, it’s obvious but like most things in the film for me, it was shoved in our faces too much.
Mavis, the beautiful popular girl came back to town with a vengeance, she’s clearly a psychotic drunk whose expectations start and end in front of the mirror. Her delusions fuel this film in a solid performance, unfortunately the delivery by everyone basically but Theron is so bland that the story really falls flat and becomes uninteresting.