While We’re Young Review: The Unfairness of Aging

Photo Credit:https://thedissolve.com/features/interview/973-noah-baumbach-on-while-were-youngs-screwball-spiri/

Culture clash comedies are pretty easy to come by, but so few of them are as poignant and well-thought-out as While We’re Young.

Director Noah Baumbach continues his career of small, thought-provoking films with this exploration of art and aging. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts star as Josh and Cornelia, a well-off Manhattan couple who both work in documentary filmmaking, Josh as a director and Cornelia as a producer. When we meet the childless couple, they’re playing with close friends’ newborn baby. Josh and Cornelia have hit that awkward age where they’re careers have sort of settled down and all of their friends are having children.

Thats when they meet Jamie and Darby (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried, respectively), a young 25-year-old married couple living in Bushwick, the hipster capitol of Brooklyn. Jamie is an aspiring documentary filmmaker who admires Josh’s work, which leads to the two couples hanging out on a regular basis, breathing youthful life into the older couple’s lives.

What makes these four characters such a thrill to watch is a combination of excellent performances from all four of them and an incredible amount of detail written into each character. While We’re Young is a movie where you’ll notice the meticulous work put into each outfit the characters wear and the little details in their respective apartments. It’s rare that films go as far as this one to flesh out their characters with nonessentials to make them feel more real.

It goes one to create some authentic and effective human drama about artistic integrity and our place in the world as we continue to grow older.

But the film isn’t without its problems. The ending isn’t quite the slam dunk the rest of the film is. It’s satisfying enough, but not overtly so, which is kind of the point. Yet it still feels like a piece is missing.

Also, while the writing is largely on-point, some of the generation gap material feels a little on the nose. The emphasis put on technology is heavy handed and almost unnecessary to the overall plot. The 25-year-olds being better at their iPhones than the late 30-somethings material feels like it’s written by the latter. But now I’m just nitpicking.

While We’re Young is still a great film and another winner on Baumbach’s belt. It realistically captures the mindset of two generations and forces them to deal with each other in the only way they know how. Most importantly, the film never forgets that everyone grows up eventually, even if they still feel like a kid pretending to be an adult, and that it’s okay to be normal. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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