MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Directed by Noah Baumbach. Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts
Just this morning as I was flipping through The United Methodist Hymnal, I wondered how something as basic as a songbook could become a bit of an anachronism in just twenty-five years. We live in a consumer culture that happily separates generations in order to increase sales, and the speed at which information travels serves as a catalyst for new words and ways of explaining life that often don’t cross generations easily. It’s no wonder that the Christian faith is starting to feel a bit out of it as we hold onto a belief system that is 2,000 years old.
Writer-director Noah Baumbach has made his reputation by creating films for fellow Gen X hipsters, but he is now 45 years old and is beginning to deal with coming to terms with the millennial generation (no doubt spurred on by his relationship with the wonderful actress Greta Gerwig, who is 31).
While We’re Young tells the story of Josh and Cornelia (Stiller and Watts), a happily married couple who are nevertheless in need of something new to come into their life. They are childless due to problems with conception, and find relating to friends with kids somewhat stressful. Josh is a documentary filmmaker whose reputation is on the wane, but when he meets Jamie (Adam Driver), a young filmmaker who reveres his work, soon Josh and Cornelia are hanging out with Jamie and his wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried). One of the running gags is that the 25-year-old Millennials are happy to live a retro life style that includes board games, vinyl LPs and casual conversation without the use of Google (“Let’s just not know”), while Josh and Cornelia are embracing technology as a way to stay in touch. Both couples are hanging onto youth; one couple just happens to be no longer young.
The movie is entertaining and clever for about two-thirds of its running time, but then along comes a complicated (and somewhat predictable) plot twist that simply gets in the way of the fun and won’t let go. The characters I enjoyed hanging out with were becoming uninteresting, suffering collateral damage from this shift in tone. I cared enough about these people that I wished they had been treated with more kindness from the script.
In his earlier films, Writer-Director Baumbach’s sense of humor could often become mean spirited. While it must be noted that While We’re Young isn’t a dark film, it certainly is cranky.
Two halos: A witty dialogue between generations that is sadly hampered by plot developments.
Two pitchforks: Occasional swearing; one scene involving psychedelic drugs; and a couple of deadly sins make cameo appearances
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
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