While We’re Young Blu-ray Review
There comes a point in everyone’s life where they realize they’re not young anymore. Depending on your lifestyle, that can come as early as your late 20’s or as maybe even as late as your 70’s. For the characters in Noah Baumbach’s latest, WHILE WE’RE YOUNG, it happens in their early 40’s after they meet a younger, seemingly more interesting couple. As much as I enjoyed WHILE WE’RE YOUNG, I don’t see how anyone under the age of 30 will get anything out of it. This is a film where you really have to relate to the characters in order to appreciate what they’re going through.
Josh (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts) are a middle-aged couple that have fallen into a rut. Josh teaches a documentary film class at the local university and that’s where he meets Jamie (Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried). They’re a young, hip couple that approach life the way Josh and Cornelia used to or at least want to. They don’t hang on their smart phones or plan every little detail of their life and that approach elicits admiration from Josh and Cornelia. That sets off a sort of mentor-mentee relationship between them, but as their relationship grows, it becomes clear that Jamie might not be as genuine as Josh originally thought.
What makes the movie work so well is how relatable Josh and Cornelia are and how engaging Jamie and Darby seem. Josh and Cornelia are basically a representation of everyone that doesn’t want to accept adulthood and have tried to act young, while Jamie and Darby are the embodiment of how the older generation wishes they could be. The movie really shines when the subtle differences between the two couples are explored, such as Josh’s insistence to look something up on his phone and Jamie’s response that “not knowing” is more fun. It’s a concept that Josh almost can’t fathom, but at the same time greatly admires.
In my personal experience, I’ve found that people typically accept their adulthood when they have kids, because nothing will make you feel older than trying to care for a child. But I loved watching Josh and Cornelia realize their age as they’re hanging out with the younger Jamie and Darby. Although there was some physical humor as Josh was trying to ride a bike and Cornelia was trying to learn hip-hop dancing, most of the age differences came with their outlook on life. Josh was truly envious of the way Jamie and Darby viewed situations and the way they approached problems and it was easy for the audience to fall into the same trap Josh and Cornelia were in. There’s something about being free of the normal burdens of life (mortgages, responsibilities, etc.) that we all find enticing and it’s easy to see why Josh and Cornelia gravitated towards Jamie and Darby.
The first two acts of WHILE WE’RE YOUNG are really great and fun to watch, but the third act does get away from Baumbach a little bit. The moral of the story is that growing old has its advantages and that with old age comes knowledge and experience, but we have to painfully watch Josh act like a juvenile to get there. It’s possible to realize experience and old age has its advantages without being taken for a fool by a younger person.
The haphazard ending doesn’t ruin the rest of the film, which excels because of the great cast and likeability of the characters. I’ve always found Noah Baumbach to be one of the more inconsistent writer/directors working today, but he did well with WHILE WE’RE YOUNG, proving that experience does have its advantages.
Video: WHILE WE’RE YOUNG looks beautiful on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Featurettes (7:29): Four featurettes total, none of which give much insight into the film.
Behind the Scenes (2:25): Quick behind the scenes look at two random scenes.