While We're Young
Director: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Gridin
Genre: Comedy Drama
Country of Origin: USA 2014 97 mins.
Released by Icon
'A sharp and witty take on generational age hang-ups.'
A quote from Ibsen's 'The Master Builder' opens writer-director Noah Baumbach’s sharp and funny take on ageing, ambition and success.
New Yorkers Josh Srebnick (Ben Stiller) and his wife Cornelia (Noami Watts) are in their forties and don't have kids. He makes documentaries and Cornelia produces her father's movies. That should be OK but Leslie Breitbart's (Charles Grodin) in the Frederick Wiseman and D.A.Pennebaker league of documentarists and that rattles Josh who's been working on the same incomprehensible send-you-to-sleep film on the American war machine for ten years. Life's OK though. Josh and Cornelia do what they want. Well they don't go anywhere or do much beyond a meal and a drink with friends Marina (Maria Dizzia) and Fletcher (Adam Horowitz) who've just had their first child. And Josh tinkers with his masterpiece.
Enter effortlessly cool Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried). He makes documentaries and has a vinyl collection to kill for and Darby's buzzy, fun and makes ice cream. It's smart phone, CD versus retro hip, typewriter and VHS.
As expected New York provides a great back drop, the cast are tops and it's funny. See it alone for the Brooklyn hip-hop dance classes and Josh's response to arthritis. It's a bit too serious towards the end and a Sharman led psychedelic brew 60s style, vomit your angst out needs trimming but the cardinal sin was not to have given the laceratingly dry Charles Gridin a larger part.
It's generational age hang ups with a Woody Allen touch. That universal unstoppable ageing process, hopes, aspirations and dreams, fading memories clung to, all of which seem so wonderful. Keep reality at bay. Then wake up.