Fred and Mick, two old friends now approaching eighty, are on holiday together in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred (Michael Caine), a retired composer, is resisting attempts to revive his greatest work, while elderly film director Mick (Harvey Keitel) is desperate to make a comeback movie starring his former favoured actress Brenda (Jane Fonda). The two friends reflect on their past, as they look with curiosity and tenderness on their children's confused lives, Mick's enthusiastic young writers, and the other hotel guests, all of whom, it seems, have all the time that they lack.
Confused, confusing, pretentious but packed with great actors
- Youth review by PV
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You rated this film: 3
This is one of those pretentious films directed by a European director (Italy) with one eye on Cannes.
But I grow really tired of such navel-gazing auteur movies. Much of this film is confused and confusing - utterly pretentious at times too.
It would have been far better if the story had been told in a traditional way - the acting talent here (Paul Dano, Michael Caine etc) are wasted.
However, some parts are good - so if you just ignore the pretentious arty vignettes peppered throughout, it's an OK watch. Those pretentious bits are SO irritating though. They are the cinematic equivalent of waffle in an essay - as are gratuitous images of naked women!
So, worth a watch BUT not worth the praise some give it (or this director).
It's a moving, thought provoking film, beautifully acted by all concerned and with a great soundtrack. Worth watching for the scenery and setting also. All the great themes were there: friendship, love, ageing, death, talent, artistic integrity. Serious themes presented with a light touch of humour. Wonderful.
I've seen a lot of films, I didn't live a life that would leave me jaded seeing this. I loved it. I tasted it's difference, I had nothing to disbelieve. I think I'm one of the lucky ones because I wasn't robbed.
This is a wholly European-funded film directed by a trendy, up-and-coming Italian, which means you can almost guess in advance what sort of experience you will get.
On the plus side, it is refreshingly different from mainstream Hollywood fare, with a quirkiness that often amuses and entertains, and some great scenes that only a European mind could possibly dream up. It is generally very well played by a pretty starry cast, and it was nice to see a film that actually tried to make you think a bit about what you were watching.
On the minus side, "pretentious rubbish" will be the most common reaction. That is too harsh, but understandable, because there are far too many moments when the quirkiness is overdone and very annoying, and also far too many either completely unnecessary or ridiculously arty scenes. It is at times slow and tedious, a touch overwritten, and by the end I was not sure what the point of it was. For a film titled "Youth", it was mostly about "Age".
Overall, just about worth sticking with for its entirety, but much better in parts than as a whole. If you do see it, watch out for the short scene where the Diego Maradona character plays 'keepy-uppy' with a tennis ball - quite amazing!