Just what, exactly, is wrong with Mavis Gary, anyway? As written by Diablo Cody and played by Charlize Theron in “Young Adult”, advance word from those who have seen the film indicate she’s essentially an irredeemable character. But what if she’s just a deeply wounded woman in need of a little therapy? We investigate what the underlying causes of Mavis’ horribleness might be in the following four just-released clips from the film, which hits theaters this Friday, December 9th and goes wide on December 15th.
Note: After you finishing watching, be sure and rate the clips at top left! I’m giving them a rock-solid “A” grade because they make me curious to see what other innocent people Mavis will attempt to belittle and/or destroy throughout the course of the film.
Clip #1: “Checking In”
Symptom: Overly-competitive disposition
Underlying cause: Lack of self-worth
Mavis seems overly concerned with being perceived as the “winner” here (even if just in her own mind), as evidenced by her refusal to admit to the hotel clerk there’s a dog in her purse even when it’s painfully evident. This may be Mavis’ way of overcompensating for a deep-seated sense of self-doubt and lack of self-esteem.
Clip #2: “Adorable”
Symptom: Emotional detachment
Underlying cause: Fear of abandonment
Though Mavis cheerfully greets her old flame Buddy (Patrick Wilson) – who she’s intent on winning back even though he’s now married with a child – when she pulls up in front of his house, notice how she visibly goes cold when his wife Beth (Elizabeth Reaser) steps outside with their new baby. Though said baby is clearly cute and huggable, Mavis doesn’t seem capable of recognizing it through her need to win back Buddy’s love at all costs. If she allows herself to see the baby as an actual human being who would be deprived of a father if Mavis stole him away, she may find herself feeling too guilty to continue on with her obsessive quest – which would once again leave her in Buddy’s proverbial rearview mirror.
Clip #3: “Looking for a dress”
Symptom: Extreme narcissism
Underlying cause: Fear of appearing vulnerable
Notice how Mavis treats the Macy’s clerk with noticeable disdain and demonstrates a clear lack of empathy for the feelings of Buddy’s wife. This tough, self-obsessed Devil-may-care exterior is likely just a way for her to mask an underlying fear of appearing weak and vulnerable.
Clip #4: “Do I know you?”
Symptom: General bitchiness
Underlying cause: General bitchiness
There is, of course, always the possibility that Mavis’ personality can be easily chalked up to an extreme case of overriding bitchiness. Evidence of this can be seen in this clip, where she treats her old classmate Matt (Patton Oswalt) with a mixture of snobbishness, barely-concealed agitation, and a clear lack of interest in listening to what he has to say (evidenced by her apparent inability to keep from checking her mobile device).