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WHILE WE’RE YOUNG (review)

54da7bda8a2fdf64645fdd74_while-were-young-posterWHILE WE’RE YOUNG
Written and Directed by Noah Baumbach
Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts and Adam Driver
 

Josh: Maybe the point is that we have our freedom. What we do with it isn’t that important.

I’m not quite in my 40’s yet but it has been some time since I was last in my 20’s. In Noah Baumbach’s WHILE WE’RE YOUNG, these two age groups are thrown into a very New York kind of scenario and we as an audience are allowed to observe and compare them, while we are simultaneously treated to great deal of laughter and wit. For a while, it is fascinating to watch; my affection oscillating between the two groups as I found myself asking questions about whether I actually act my age or not. As the film approaches its climax though, Baumbach runs out of insight and WHILE WE’RE YOUNG becomes less about us and them, and more us vs. them.

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Baumbach reteams with GREENBERG star, Ben Stiller, to much better results, I must say. Stiller is a documentarian who is married to the daughter of a documentarian, played by Naomi Watts. Stiller is also stuck, having been working on the same boring documentary for ten years. The couple don’t have any children, even though all of their friends do, and at this point in their life, have convinced themselves that they don’t want any either. After what they believe to be a chance meeting with a younger couple, played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried, they all become fast friends. Stiller and Watts are the kind of couple who fuss over the wattage in a light bulb being just right and who pass each other in a doorway as if the other wasn’t there. Driver and Seyfried meanwhile appear to devour every ounce of life that is presented to them. Their ability to stay present and engaged, awakens something in Stiller and Watts and they fall in love with the promise of life all over again. What Stiller and Watts don’t realize though is that Driver and Seyfried are still kids basically. What do they know about anything anyway?

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On many levels, Baumbach cruises through WHILE WE’RE YOUNG. Like his previous venture, FRANCES HA, he keeps it light and simple without sacrificing any insight along the way. It is only when Stiller starts to see that Driver isn’t all he portends to be, that Baumbach loses control of the vehicle, swerves into much more conventional, almost farcical form, and shows us who he has been rooting for all along. I’lll give you a hint; Baumbach just turned 45.

3.5 sheep

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give While We’re Young?

3.7 (73.33%) 3 votes

 

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