Friday, June 19, 2015
Highlight: While We're Young
Recently I was saying to someone, "Perhaps I should narrow down the types of films I cover on Tinsel & Tine to a couple of specific genres."But," I continued, "the thing about it is, I truly am interested and enjoy seeing almost everything!" That is with the exception of horror and war movies, and even then, I'm happy to have blog contributors adroitly cover those subjects.
This same person asked, "but what type of movies are your favorites?" When I'm asked this question my mind automatically jumps to my guilty pleasure front runners - Look Who's Talking & Look Who's Talking Too, Pretty Woman, 13 Going on 30. Then it goes to my favorite old movies that seem to beat in time with my heart - Rebecca, Gigi and Indiscreet. Her question, however, was more in the vain of - if I did narrow the field of films covered on T&T (which I'm not going to) what would I gravitate to?
While We're Young fits the bill - it's something a bit off kilter and original, but not too quirky or overly imaginative. Well-written humor without comedic shtick. Character driven with just enough plot and narrative to keep it on track. Social commentary without clubbing you over the head with an issue, fate or state-of-being. Awkward moments, foibles, pop culture references and a little romance. Which made me examine more closely the talents of writer/director Noah Baumbach. I've seen and loved Greenberg and Frances Ha (click for T&T post) and movies made from his screenplays -The Fantastic Mr. Fox & Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. But I need to do a weekend retrospective of the rest of Baumbach's films. Particularly the ones he's most famous for - The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding, not sure how I've let these escape my viewing thus far.
While We're Young brings us into the lives of a married couple in their mid-forties. You get the impression they've been married at least a decade, no kids. They live a nice, cosmopolitan, artistic, but not artsy, relatable lifestyle. Josh (Ben Stiller) is a documentary filmmaker and part-time professor, his wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts) is the daughter and film producer of a famous documentarian, Les (Charles Grodin); who is also Josh's former mentor. Les & Josh's relationship is strained, yet the problems stem more from Josh's insecurities than anything his father-in-law has actually said or done. It's these insecurities Josh has about his long, long in the making second documentary, that allows a young hipster type couple to enter he and Cornelia's life.
Jamie (Adam Driver) is an aspiring documentarian filmmaker and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) makes homemade ice cream. They are the type of cool, relaxed, twenty-somethings that think everything old is new again - board games, vinyl records, flea markets and real books with paper pages. Next thing you know, they're introducing Josh & Cornelia to hip hop dance classes, statement head-wear and a particularly amusing scene involving a spiritual circle, a shaman, a hallucinogenic concoction and retching up your dinner with your demons. Of course, how many people are actually as cool as they make on they are? From the outside it looks as if Jamie & Darby have a handle on truly living in the moment; but in actuality, they are just as unsure about the next steps in life as Josh & Cornelia. These themes, along with some examination of our - film everything culture, realizations on aging and losing friends to their babies; (something which I think every single person or couple without kids has gone through when the people they used to hang with become parents) are the reasons why While We're Young is the type of movie to which I gladly gravitate.
T &T's LAMB Score: 4 outta 5
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