With her once-popular young-adult series of books just about to be cancelled, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) finds herself drawn back to her small Minnesota hometown in search of whatever it is that is lacking in her life.
Divorced, aimless and turning to the bottle, she reckons it’s her high-school sweetheart that she needs back in her life at this turning point.
And it’s a measure of her selfish self-absorption that she isn’t put off by the fact that Buddy (Patrick Wilson) is happily married and newly a dad.
This is the kind of film which feels as if it somehow ought to be a comedy and there is certainly plenty of comic potential as the girl that no one fondly remembers sets out to snare Mr Unambitious Nice Guy.
But director Jason Reitman goes for understated drama instead, a slow-burner of dangerous discontent which plays out effectively and engagingly, not least in the unlikely friendship that Mavis starts to form with former schoolmate (Patton Oswalt), the boy they all loved to bully.
It’s all about growing up and moving on, and the result is a quietly-absorbing film with an affecting twist.
Rental courtesy of Blockbuster. For details of other new releases, see http://www.blockbuster.co.uk.