There is nothing I love more than coming-of-age stories. I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that that is my favorite genre. But what many people fail to realize about them is that they don’t always have to revolve around children or teenage protagonists. In some cases, coming-of age stories can revolve around adults who just can’t seem to grow up. These adult protagonists (or antagonists, depending on the kind of story being told) tend to be a nuisance to everyone they come across, and the situations they find themselves in along their journeys can result in some humorous and bittersweet moments. Today, I will be recommending a double feature of adult coming-of-age stories. I hope you check them out.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)
3.5/5| Comedy| Drama| 1hr 23m
Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Screenplay: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Cinematography: Jas Shelton
Jeff, Who Lives at Home is one of those movies that you always see on a streaming site, but steadily scroll pass without a second thought, because it doesn’t really seem like the type of film you’re “in the mood for.” Well, luckily for y’all, I recently watched it after years of the (all too familiar) steady scroll pass and wouldn’t you know, I actually enjoyed it. The Duplass Brothers’ semi-dramatic turn, follows the titular Jeff (Jason Segel), a 30-somethig year old who still lives in his mother’s basement and is desperately to “find his purpose” in life. After opening with a monologue about M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs (2002), Jeff proceeds to follow his own series of self perceived signs that lead him on a journey of self-fulfillment. Along the way, we are introduced to Jeff’s brother, Pat (Ed Helms), and their mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon), who are each having their own life changing day. You can watch Jeff, Who Lives at Home right now on Hulu.
Young Adult (2011)
3.7/5| Comedy| Drama| 1hr 34m
Director: Jason Reitman
Screenplay: Diablo Cody
Cinematography: Eric Steelberg
Charlize Theron has always been one of my favorite actresses (and its not just because we share the same birthday). She has a knack for completely transforming herself for every role and steadily proving time and time again that she is one of today’s great working actors. It’s always a pleasure to see her do what she does best, even if the movies are not always up to snuff. Thankfully, Young Adult is great. In this film, Theron shines as Mavis Gary, an alcoholic ghostwriter for a soon-to-be cancelled young-adult book series, who is completely dissatisfied with her life. After receiving an email from her old high school boyfriend, (played by Patrick Wilson) announcing the birth of his new baby girl, Mavis returns to her hometown in order to break-up his happy marriage and “reclaim” the life that she feel should be hers. Diablo Cody is a wonderful writer and always manages to excel at creating very specific characters. What she captures with Young Adult is what we all cynically expect the uber popular kids from high school to go through and Theron’s nuanced portrayal makes this experience all the more enjoyable. You can watch this film right now on Hulu.