Wednesday, April 8, 2015

While We're Young - Must-See Generational Romp!

Every once in awhile a movie comes along that's so aware, so alive, so relevant that it stops you in your tracks.
The script is crisp. The story is alive with a sense of the zeitgeist without being pretentious. The characters are funny, believable and engaging. The humor is incisive and aware, but not mean-spirited. The direction is vibrant and knowledgeable. And the acting, with a great ensemble, hits the target in every scene. Beyond all this, the film doesn't drag on and on. Taken in context, it's all plausible and it ends at just the right moment. In short, the movie is true -- true to itself and true to the audience.
While We're Young is such a movie.
It doesn't need to be outlandish. It doesn't use gimmicks. It doesn't rely on shock value, audience manipulation or ridiculous plot turns.
It's the best film we've seen in a long, long time.
Written and directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Ben Stiller, Adam Driver, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Horovitz and Charles Grodin this film tells the story of two couples: a middle-aged GenX pairing (Watts and Stiller) and their new millennial friends (Driver and Seyfried). Add to this mix a pompous, aging boomer (Grodin as Watt's father) and you have a very "now" American comedy that will have you shaking your head in recognition.
Stiller is now a true, mature comic star. Watts and Seyfried manage to achieve new levels of perfection. Driver debuts with pure, angular, cryptic charm. And Charles Grodin is first-in-line for best supporting actor.
This is a Very Significant Movie but it's also what the great Pauline Kael used to call a "movie-movie." It makes its point by having fun with its subject and it never takes itself too seriously. It knows that it's just a movie but it still masterfully seduces us into suspending disbelief.
In the course of the film, the GenX couple will have their career and marriage turned upside-down by the millennials while the officious boomer will just keep on keeping on.
This film is all about generations and the passing of time within the confines of our near-suffocating popular culture and its attendant world of cyber saturation. And, in its own way, it's a searing (and not entirely undeserved) indictment of the two groups at America's generational poles -- the self-absorbed (and originally adored) boomers and the currently-adulated (and seemingly clueless) millennials.
But appearances (both individually and collectively) can be deceiving.
This is a daring, wildly original, delightful excursion. Don't miss it!

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