Youth

It took me a week to get through Youth, maybe more. Matt kept asking after me, like the movie was a virus I had to endure, to shake. He worried I was suffering, and with good reason: director Paolo Sorrentino’s previous work, The Great Beauty, was in fact a bit of a trial for me. Not that it wasn’t, weyouth-michael-caine-harvey-keitelll, a great beauty. It was. It was just also arduous and uppity.  Sorrentino’s directorial trademarks include “oblique storytelling” and “partially obscure plots.” Is Youth more accessible? Sure. It is. But don’t worry: it isn’t without pretension.

If The Great Beauty was a treatise on the passage of time, what, then, is Youth? A testament to what is past? A longing and desire for vitality? The acknowledgement of our life’s work?

Michael Caine plays a composer\conductor who has hung up his baton, and not even the Queen herself can convince him to pick it up again. Harvey Keitel plays a film maker who is struggling to write his last great script, his magnum opus, his definitive work. The two are on vacation together in the Swiss Alps, comparing ailments, bemoaning their status, ythruminating over mistakes, agonizing over decisions. Rachel Weisz plays daughter to Caine (and daughter-in-law to Keitel) – one who is freshly dumped, causing pain and anger to resurface. This makes for an actor’s showcase of emoting, but not much in the way of plot. Nothing happens: elderly naked people walk by, slowly, as slowly as the memories being recounted, like lazy clouds in a clear sky.

It is beautiful to look at. Caine proves that though his character may be ready to embrace retirement, he, the actor, is not. He’s brilliant, and he’s imagesCA754B8Win good company. The best. But a collection of reminiscing characters does not a movie make. The latent aspect of the film began to feel claustrophobic to me. It’s like visiting your Gran at her retirement home: sure she’s a fascinating woman and you love her and want to pay your respects but OHMYFUCKINGGODGETMEOUTOFHERE.

You know what they say: Youth is wasted on the young.

 

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24 thoughts on “Youth

    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, I was kind of surprised he was okay with being the same age as Michael Caine, but apparently he’s 76 and Caine’s 82, so actually pretty close!

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  1. Brittani

    lol nice review. This doesn’t look like something I’d enjoy, even if Paul Dano (whom I love) is in it. I had issues with The Great Beauty too. First 10 minutes were great, then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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  2. Aayusi

    Great review …I mean I had a great laugh lol (yus I had to Google the names coz m not from the same part of the country as you)!
    Have an awesome Christmas !!

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      1. fragglerocking

        Nope, men with chiselled jaws and 6 packs are my boat flotation devices, what can I say, I am Neanderthal girl. Mind you, I do like a bit of brain power in the devices, so all is not lost.

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  3. Susannah Bianchi

    What a cool site. And I hate to say this but Harvey K. is old. Think about it. I love the movies. I’m a member of the Screen Actors Guild so I get a lot of screeners hoping I’ll vote for them via the SAG awards. I still lean toward the low budget independent, though I liked the Steve Job film a lot being an Aaron Sorkin fan and all.
    Wonder how you came upon my site today when it’s so completely different from yours.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, it’s true, he is getting up there, I guess I just picture him during his heyday in my head. And actually, he wasn’t even young then!!
      I really liked Steve Jobs too – more than I thought I would even: it was a great surprise.

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  4. kmSalvatore

    well thanks Jay… i can relate, i take my Father in-Law food shopping every week…. and im yelling at the top of my lungs by the end of the day..those very words:)))
    and i love(d) both of the actors. ill avoid this one.. at all cost..once a week with an older person is all i can handle:)!

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  5. calensariel

    Interesting review. I tend to like kind of slow, stream of consciousness movies. I might like this one. But this IS Utah, the backwater of the movie scene. I wonder if it will ever show up around here… Merry Christmas, Jay! {{{Jay}}}

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