<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Noah Baumbach. Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Grodin, Adam Horowitz, Maria Dizzia
While We’re Young is a tongue-in-cheek observational comedy about how yesteryears generation are handling the new world and how the youth of today have become far more street smart than we were at that age.
Ah growing old is more bitter than sweet sometimes but here’s a film that may change your mind on whether you’d want to be young in today’s day and age. Documentary filmmaker Josh (Ben Stiller) and his wife producer wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are forty-somethings with married friends who have kids. They don’t and have realised they don’t want to sacrifice their freedom even though they don’t really do much with it. And then they bump into Jamie (Adam Driver) and his wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried) who immediately make a connection out of Jamie’s budding interest in making a documentary.
The two couples share dinner and interests. Josh and Cornelia find that Jamie and Darby have embraced so many things from the 70s and 80s like vinyl records, typewriters, videocassettes and hallucinogens. And they look much cooler using them too. Enchanted and wanting to get back a bit of their youth, Josh and Cornelia follow Jamie and Darby into their world of hip hop dancing and drinking hallucinogens to ‘vomit up demons’ and shun their married friends. Simultaneously, young Jamie tries to help Josh with his long-unfinished film while making use of Josh’s father-in-law Leslie Breitbart (Charles Grodin) who is a legendary documentarian but Josh doesn’t get along with him so well.
There are plenty of things in While We’re Young that we can identify with. Like the need for the older generation to be on WhatsApp and Google everything they don’t know about. Staying relevant perhaps but when they find a young hip couple who values all the old and cherished memories and artefacts of their youth they too want to be a part of rediscovering that simpler and more magical time. Only the young can teach us to be young again.
We soon come to realise that Jamie’s infatuation with Josh and Josh’s being smitten by Jamie are part of deeper motives and desires. It’s a nice twist to the story, which could have simply become about old age trying to recreate youth. But While We’re Young tells us that old can indeed be gold as the new generation have learnt way too fast with their iPhones and iPads, using unlimited data with a dearth of experience.
All the actors are wonderful and the look of the film is reminiscent of an 80s movie. You’ll definitely feel some nostalgia. It’s charming, witty, acerbic, insightful and fun.