Youth in Revolt (film)

Youth in Revolt is a 2009 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Miguel Arteta and written by Gustin Nash. Based on C.D. Payne's epistolary novel of the same name, the film stars Michael Cera and Portia Doubleday, with Justin Long, Ray Liotta, and Steve Buscemi in supporting roles.

Youth in Revolt
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMiguel Arteta
Produced byDavid Permut
Written byGustin Nash
Based onYouth in Revolt
by C.D. Payne
StarringMichael Cera
Portia Doubleday
Jean Smart
Mary Kay Place
Zach Galifianakis
Justin Long
Ray Liotta
Steve Buscemi
Narrated byMichael Cera
Music byJohn Swihart
CinematographyChuy Chávez
Edited byPamela Martin
Andy Keir
Distributed byDimension Films
Release date
  • September 2009 (2009-09) (DAFF)
  • January 8, 2010 (2010-01-08) (United States)
Running time
89 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$18 million[2]
Box office$19,651,093[3]

The film follows a shy and lonely teenage boy (Cera) desperate to lose his virginity. While on a trailer park holiday with his mother and her boyfriend, he meets an attractive girl (Doubleday) and is immediately smitten. Unfortunately, when the two are separated Nick must learn how to rebel in order to be with the girl he loves.


Shy, socially inept teenager Nick Twisp lives with his mother, Estelle, and her boyfriend, Jerry, in Oakland, California. After selling a faulty car to a group of sailors, Jerry takes Estelle and Nick to a trailer park in Clearlake where Nick meets Sheeni Saunders, a bright young woman his age, with an interest in French culture and who shares Nick's musical taste. Despite Sheeni's boyfriend, Trent Preston, they become romantically involved. Nick purchases a dog for Sheeni named Albert (after Albert Camus), but the dog rips up the family Bible and Sheeni's parents ban it from the house.

Jerry needs to return to Oakland and takes Estelle and Nick with him. Sheeni promises to arrange a job in Ukiah for Nick's father, George, while Nick will get his mother to kick him out so he can return to Sheeni. Back at home, Nick creates an alter-ego named François Dillinger, a suave, rebellious troublemaker. Immediately after Nick makes the decision, Jerry dies of a heart attack. Under François' influence, Nick mouths off to his mom and her new boyfriend, police officer Lance Wescott. Nick takes Jerry's Lincoln, and crashes into a restaurant, which starts a fire. Lance agrees to lie and report the car stolen. In return, Nick must live with his father. In Ukiah, Nick phones Sheeni and tells her he had to blow up "half of Berkeley" to return. Sheeni's parents overhear this and ship her to a French boarding school in Santa Cruz, forbidding Nick ever to see her again.

In his new high school, Nick befriends Vijay Joshi, and they take Vijay's grandmother's car to visit Sheeni. After sneaking into Sheeni's room, Nick goes to the restroom and meets Bernice Lynch, Sheeni's neighbor, and claims Trent said terrible things about her. Bernice brings the matron to Sheeni's room and the boys flee. On the way home, the car dies and Nick calls Mr. Ferguson, his father's idealist neighbor, to come pick them up; he tells Ferguson that Vijay is an illegal immigrant whom Nick is trying to "free from persecution".

When he returns home, Nick meets Sheeni's older brother, Paul, who tells him that she will be returning home on Thanksgiving and invites him for dinner. Nick begins to send Bernice letters asking her to slip sedatives into Sheeni's drinks to make her fall asleep in class, thereby getting Sheeni expelled. Nick finds Lacey, George's 25-year-old girlfriend, Paul, and Ferguson, lounging in his living room, high on mushrooms, which Nick also ingests. George finds them and punches Ferguson, which results in Paul punching George. Lacey leaves the house to live with Paul. On Thanksgiving Day, Nick receives a call from his mother explaining Lance left and will not cover for Nick anymore. Nick goes to Thanksgiving at Sheeni's. Trent unexpectedly arrives and explains Nick's letters to Bernice; Sheeni is horrified and Nick leaves.

Nick steals his father's car to escape the police. He then removes his clothes and drives the car into a shallow lake in front of the police station. He buys a wig and a dress and impersonates one of Sheeni's "friends". He fools Mr. and Mrs. Saunders and goes up to Sheeni's room. Upstairs, Nick tells Sheeni that he understands what loneliness is like, and that everything he has done, including burning down Berkeley, destroying his parents' cars and having her sedated were all so that they wouldn't have to be alone anymore. Sheeni forgives Nick, and the two have sex, finally achieving Nick's dream of losing his virginity. Trent barges in, telling Nick he's brought the police with him. Nick beats up Trent and asks Sheeni to wait for him; Sheeni reassures him that he will only be in juvenile detention for three months.

The animated closing credits show Nick in jail with François helping him. When Nick is released, Sheeni shows up in a car and they drive away into the sky towards the Paris skyline, as various characters appear to make amends with the two and give them their blessing.



Box office

Youth in Revolt opened on January 8, 2010 in 1,873 theaters and grossed $6,888,334 in its opening weekend, ranking #9 in the domestic box office.[4] By the end of its run on March 25, the film had grossed $15,281,286 domestically and $4,369,807 overseas for a worldwide total of $19,651,093.[3] Based on its $18 million budget,[2] the film was a box office failure.

Critical reception

The film has received positive reviews; review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 66% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 163 reviews, with an average score of 6.3/10; the consensus states: "It may not entirely do its source material justice, but Miguel Arteta's Youth in Revolt is a fun, funny comic romp that lets Michael Cera stretch a little and introduces filmgoers to a major find in Portia Doubleday."[5] On Metacritic, based on 35 critics' reviews, the film has a 63/100 rating, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[6]

Home media

Youth in Revolt was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 15, 2010. Special features include deleted scenes, animated sequences, an audio commentary by Arteta and Cera, and audition footage.[7]


Youth in Revolt: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedJanuary 5, 2010 (2010-01-05)
LabelLakeshore Records
ProducerMiguel Arteta, Anne Litt
Professional ratings
Review scores

Youth in Revolt: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on January 5, 2010 by Lakeshore Records. The film itself contained 19 songs, leaving 9 out of the official soundtrack. The score was composed by John Swihart who also did the score for Napoleon Dynamite and The Brothers Solomon.

1."When U Love Somebody"Fruit Bats4:31
2."I Willn't Be a Prisoner"Little Wings1:21
3."Les Cactus"Jacques Dutronc2:41
4."I Have a Boyfriend"Michael Cera0:39
5."What's Up Fatlip?"Fatlip3:22
6."Popular Mechanics for Lovers"Beulah3:03
7."Light of Love"Fleshpot2:30
8."Keys"John Swihart0:46
9."Happiness Trigger"Fleshpot3:06
10."T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)"Fun Boy Three & Bananarama2:52
11."My Romance"Jo Stafford3:24
12."Nick and Sheeni Make Love"John Swihart1:24


  1. "YOUTH IN REVOLT (15)". Momentum Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. November 20, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  2. "Movie projector: 'Avatar' to dominate three new competitors". Los Angeles Times. January 7, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2010. [...] which the Weinstein Co. financed for about $18 million.
  3. "Youth in Revolt (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  4. "Weekend Box Office Results for January 8-10, 2010". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. January 11, 2010. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  5. "Youth in Revolt". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  6. "Youth in Revolt Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  7. "Youth in Revolt (US – DVD R1 BD RA)". Retrieved April 17, 2010.
  8. "Youth in Revolt – Various Artists". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
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