Sunday, April 19, 2015

When They Grow Up

Modern-day fortysomethings can be so clueless – or so celebrated indie writer-director Noah Baumbach would have us believe thanks to his latest, While We’re Young.

Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts headline the film as Josh and Cornelia, a couple of married New York-based filmmakers; he’s a documentarian, she’s a producer (although she doesn’t work on his stuff, just on her father’s). Childless and cool with it, they are, trust, otherwise rather successful in life. They have done pretty much all they were meant to. They have achieved.

And yet....

Som’in is missing, and that something becomes evident to Josh after meeting the carefree (millennial) Brooklynite Jamie (Adam Driver, of HBO’s Girls).

To Josh, Jamie embodies a joie de vivre he’s not felt since, well...probably since he was in his twenties. And lemme tell ya that’s a o’ excitement: Driver. Is. Tall.

Simply like, by being, the dude seemingly pulls Josh outta his rut (he’s been working on the same project for almost a decade) by positioning himself as an eager mentee, and inspires him to reconnect with his ol’ spontaneous self. At the same time, Cornelia, too, becomes fascinated, by Darby (Amanda Seyfried), Jamie’s wife, a young’un who makes ice cream, but not exactly for a living.

Baumbach contrasts and explores the two couples’ generational eccentricities with a keen eye, and while he makes it clear that Jamie’s interest in befriending a pair of middle-agers is ultimately super-self-serving, he refuses to make him and Darby the villains of his story. What he does is far more interesting because it’s way more real: he acknowledges that that’s how the cookie crumbles in the real world, and he allows his characters to walk away from their shared conflict and realizations none the wiser.

It’s not usually what happens in movies, but it definitely reflects reality.

My Rating ***

Photo: A24.

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