Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Saw Young Adult about a week ago. It's an excellent portrait of a narcissistic personality who descends into alcoholism while self-delusionally trying to win back her married high school boyfriend. It's enjoyable if you have a taste for awkward scenes where people make fools of themselves. It's a little like a Ben Stiller movie, but more realistic.
Charlize Theron was terrific in the main role. The most impressive thing about her is that she is not at all a vain actress. She is completely game when it comes to uglifying herself for a role, or appearing as an unsympathetic character. In Young Adult her character was pathetically self-indulgent and irresponsible. Theron famously fattened herself up to play serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, the ultimate Robert de Niro-like sacrifice for her art. (Unlike DeNiro, however, she regained her looks afterward.)
An example of a vain actress would be Angelina Jolie. She is always shot from a flattering angle, with the lighting just right, and her makeup perfect, in stylish clothes. I haven't seen all her movies, so can't speak with complete authority, but she seems to only accept roles where she gets most of the cool lines. It's hard to imagine her agreeing to play a nerd. She may be serious about being a movie star, but she's not a serious actress.
Maybe Theron can afford to be less vain because she's better-looking.