While We're Young
I may not be there yet, though I can understand that most adults will go through a midlife crisis. I’ve seen some friends who will complain on Facebook that their in their late twenties, yet they still have no idea how they will leave an impact on humanity. Some people have called this the “quarter-life crisis” that I see more as throwing a tantrum then an actual mental breakdown. For someone in their forties or fifties to feel like they haven’t contributed much to their fellow man is something that I find kind of sad and even sympathize with, despite not at that age or point in life.
I see a lot of Hollywood stars going through their own midlife crisis right on the big screen, even if their playing the total opposite. The sudden realization that their not as young as they were and finding lead roles would become much harder would hit them like a speeding train and that their only solution is to take up roles with a younger crowd to show that their still hip. Doing this is usually a recipe for disaster, as this will not only makes them seem older then they appear, but this concedes that they want to hand over the reigns to someone more energetic. The examination of two generations is further studied in While We’re Young.
We zoom in on a successful New York couple, a documentary filmmaker Josh (played by Ben Stiller) and documentary producer Cornelia (played by Naomi Watts). They have spent a great deal of time on their projects, though their circle of friends has started to have children, cutting off their time allocated for fun. Josh would like to have a child though Cornelia has suffered two miscarriages and is a fried to try again, feeling that in her mid-forties, it’s too late.
Josh teaches a continuing education class and meet up with a young, twenty-something couple, aspiring filmmaker Jamie (played by Adam Driver) and free spirit Darby (played by Amanda Seyfried). The three talk about film and current hipster living which later becomes dinner for four. Josh and Cornelia take a liking to the young couple and their bohemian ways of living, resulting in constantly hanging out with each other. Josh is looking for the best way to complete his documentary to receive the approval of Cornelia’s father, a famous documentarian Leslie Breitbart (played by Charles Grodin), but starts to feel jealous when Jaime starts working on a documentary that might be quicker to earning phrase.
The idea of a two separate generations making friends with each other sounds like something one might find from a dumb situation sitcom, but I ended up liking this a lot more then I thought I would. All four leads are great actors that play off to each others interests (one of my favorite lines concerns Ben Stiller’s observation that the decorating around Driver’s and Seyfried’s is yesterday’s junk being turned into something awesome).
Director Noah Baumbach (Greenburg, The Squid and the Whale) knows that story works best with fully developed personalities over a complex plot. While We’re Young is no exception and has more of a play feeling then a movie. I say this as a good thing as all the dialogue is interesting, the hear about Stiller trying to explain what his six hour documentary is about (“It’s about America” he constantly replies) or Watt’s trying to understand a hipster ritual where they vomit out their negative vibes. My only issue with the movie is that it nears into “the liar revealed” plot that I hate, the movie does do a cleaver way of exiting that point and moving onto something else.
I’ll give this four and a half hipster hats out of five. The idea of one acting their age is emphasized better here then in any film I’ve seen. While We’re Young is a nice delight and should be watched whether if you want to see a romance exploration or a night of comedic laughs.