Young Adam (2003)

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Avg Rating: 3.7 / 5. Voted: 33

No one cared thus far. Do you?

Directed by: David Mackenzie
Starring: Ewan McGregor (Joe), Tilda Swinton (Ella), Peter Mullan (Les), Emily Mortimer (Cathie), Therese Bradley (Gwen)
Country: Scotland; Effed Up British-Irish Films
Language: English
Runtime: 01:37:40
Genres: Mystery, Infidelity, Sexual-Violence against Women

Plot – Spoilers:
In 1950s Scotland, Joe works with Les on a barge owned by Les’ wife, Ella. Joe was once a budding writer determined to break the mould, but those dreams seem to have faded as he now ends the days covered in grime and watching Ella and Les squabble. Ella often snaps at Les for reasons that mostly lie in their bed, but also because she sees herself as the boss of the barge. Les is mostly oblivious, preferring to look forward to a game of darts and a drink at the local pub. Meanwhile Joe, who isn’t above spying on the couple’s problems in bed, uses the opportunity to begin an affair with Ella.

One morning, while working the river, Joe and Les notice a dead girl and pull her onboard. The case becomes a local event in the small town, but Joe remains detached from it, despite it slowly being revealed that the dead girl might be no stranger to him.

Young Adam is what some might describe as a slow burner. A mesmerizing slow-burner at that. This isn’t your typical effed-up movie, but is effed up in the way it unravels Joe’s personality and reveals the desolation and darkness that lie in everyone, in every average Joe.

Scored by David Byrne.

Favorite Scenes (Massive Spoilers):
The couple-in-bed’s response to Les finding them.
Who the hell does he think he is anyhow, clomping about like the day of judgement. :))

When Joe first meets Cathie at the beach.

Overhead shot of the barge as Joe walks down it.

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Doll Face Dōrufeisu
Doll Face Dōrufeisu
September 27, 2023 3:38 am

I had forgotten to mention that when I was younger, this film aired on daytime television. I recall being ironically bemused by the sex scene between Ewan and Tilda, initially pondering if it was simulated or not… 🤭

Doll Face Dōrufeisu
Doll Face Dōrufeisu
September 27, 2023 3:15 am

I’ve not been particularly partial to Ewan nor his films, but I’m glad he finally had that basal cell carcinoma growth on his forehead removed. Additionally, in reference to this piece, I find Tilda rather assiduous in the majority of roles she portrays as palpably fluid and collusive. This screenplay adapted by the notable Scottish film director David Mackenzie, is monopolizing and provocative. You should check out his other work, like ‘Starred Up’ (2013), featuring the ruggedly handsome Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn.

September 18, 2023 12:15 pm

You need to have the option for subtitles in ALL movies, including English speaking ones. I speak English but can not understand a thick Irish accent very well, especially when they are whispering. Option 2 never works so thats out.

September 12, 2023 7:07 pm

I am sorry, but I cannot figure out where this reaction will end up. It is meant as a reaction to the last thing Old Mother Hubbard wrote to me, and I hope, of course that the Admin(s) read(s) it too: I really do NOT want to go into politics here, but if you pose the question of what is ‘effedup’ or not, the answer will depend on the country and culture you grew up in and live in. I am an old man from Northern Europe, where few people have a problem with public nudity, with homosexuality (why would you, if at least 15 percent of humanity is born that way?) , and many feel sorry for people born in the wrong body. So, if you think that nudity of a transgender, would make me support a man who is a friend of (or is being blackmailed by) a Russian mafia boss, a crook responsible for the death of over 200,000 young Russians since February 2022, well, sorry this is too much to ask. But let us talk us about ‘effedup’ movies, and for me this does not include movies with Julia Roberts and the like, which have nothing ‘effedup’ about them. Now, if you want to see some fantastic actresses, who make you ‘shiver’, get to see some Eastern-European movies: See the incredible Grażyna Szapołowska in the Krzysztof Kieślowski-movies ‘No End’ and ‘A Short Film About Love’, the second would be very suitable for this site. A recent… Read more »

September 11, 2023 4:29 pm

Joe is your average male. A worthless piece of shit coward and rapist.

fred fat
fred fat
September 10, 2023 8:09 pm

i remember when adam was a lad

Old Mother Hubbard
Old Mother Hubbard
September 10, 2023 8:33 am

It’s called “Young Adam” but it could have been called “The Love Barge.” Effed Up Movies needs to add the “Romance” category or maybe even the “Lovey Dovey” category. Maybe you could put some reruns of “The Love Boat” on here too. Look, the cast is great. Ewan McGregor (Joe), Tilda Swinton (Ella), and Peter Mullan (Les) are all incredible actors and I think they are fantastic. The cinematography. musical score, lighting, landscapes, etc. are all top notch. It is a really well made, well acted and well executed film. This story is something that a housewife would want to read in a Harlequin romance novel. I’m not sure people who come to this site to see an Effed Up Movie would understand why this is on here. I don’t.