Thursday, 9 April 2015

REVIEW - WHILE WE'RE YOUNG (NOAH BAUMBACH)


Age is both a number and a way of life in Noah Baumbach's latest, typically astute feature on how we are shaped by the inescapable facts of life, no matter how we try to manipulate reality. Only in accepting our natural status within society can we expect to reap what benefits there may (or may not) be in its construct, though Baumbach's embrace of reality extends to an embrace of its contradictions and its contempt for whatever happiness we might seek there. While We're Young is a hard, pessimistic, slightly misanthropic film, but one that's content to be that way - thus, it bears an attractively relaxed quality, and speaks to the weary human-hater in all of us (or is that just me?). Baumbach in fact makes so much of his characters and their comic-tragic interactions that the self-reflexive stench he produces in the process almost overpowers the film at times; though a welcome addition to his canon of works, While We're Young doesn't exactly expand Baumbach's horizons, and he demonstrates very little in the way of new technique. Yet we appreciate the self-awareness - it's here that this film becomes so pleasurable an experience, in its richness and in its potential for endless re-evaluation upon repeat viewings. Ben Stiller does his thing in the lead, which isn't especially inspiring but he's perfectly cast so what does it matter; Naomi Watts impresses, rarely having seemed this comfortable in a role. The film is intentionally irritative, and your enjoyment depends on how comfortable you can be with that. Maybe it's about your maturity level. Maybe it's just your age.