“Bit of a conundrum this week for picking movies. I was expecting Ex Machina, but it turns out its limited release is starting really limited and won’t be here until at least next week. The new wide release was the new Nicholas Sparks and we all know there’s no way in hell I’m seeing that. So I was left to pick from my maybe movies. The cast for While We’re Young put it on my radar, but I wasn’t impressed enough with the trailer to make it a must. However, in the week since it’s been out, I’ve been hearing good things (including a pretty decent Rotten Tomatoes rating). I also know that writer/director Noah Baumbach is rather well respected, even if I’m not too familiar with his work, only his reputation.
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are a gen X couple, approaching middle age. The rest of their friends are all having babies, which is not something they’re planning on. Feeling lost and left out, they befriend a young millennial couple Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver who turn their life as they know it upside down.
As someone who fits right in between the two groups (often subcategorized as gen Y, or being considered among the oldest of the millennials) it left my head in a kinda strange place. I was simultaneously empathizing with both sides. There was a fun montage in the middle showing how each couple approaches the same situation (games, films, communication, etc) and was pretty evenly split between which I identified with. It was trippy. The younger crowd also reminded me of a play I saw recently, OPC (Obsessive Political Correctness) that revolved around a freegan and her relationship with her mother. Amanda and Adam’s Darby and Jamie might not have lived that lifestyle, but they weren’t very far from it.
Just as the whole conceit was starting to wear thin, the film took a turn and was suddenly about something completely different. Although blindsided, I kinda liked where it ended up. It was a much more interesting story, and would have likely made me more interested to see it if I knew that it wasn’t just some middle age bildungsroman. All I’ll say, since it’s likely meant to be a surprise, is that it has to do with the respective documentaries that each of the guys are working on and the motives behind their work.
Some bits dragged and there were a few things we could have done without (starting with that whole Ayahuasca thing), but it was a refreshing and original film anchored by a great cast. Maybe not as deserving of quite the level of praise I’d been hearing, but certainly a choice well made.
While We’re Young – \m/ \m/ \m/