While We're Young is the latest film from writer/director, Noah Baumbach, director of such films as Frances Ha and The Squid And The Whale. It follows the story of a middle-aged couple, Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Josh (Ben Stiller). They're a point in their life where all of their friends are off having babies, yet they're wandering through life knowing that there's going to be another day tomorrow. That's when they meet Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a younger couple who are living their lives without technology. And so begins a seemingly unlikely friendship that all revolves around the world of documentary filmmaking.
I'll be honest. This is my first venture into the world of Noah Baumbach, or at least into the world of films he has directed. With so many well known films such as The Squid And The Whale, Greenburg and Kicking And Screaming (not the Will Ferrell one), even I'm shocked that this is my first film of his. However, I do have a knowledge of the films he has helped to write, such as Madagascar 3, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, all of which are excellent movies. From what I've seen and heard, he's essentially the more hipster version of Wes Anderson, and this very much shows in While We're Young. While it's not quite as polished or stylised as Anderson's films, it does have a familiar feel to it, but with a dash of Woody Allen to top things off. Take that as you will.
While We're Young, on a lot of levels, is a film about society. It's a film about old vs new, young vs old, narrative vs documentary, children vs adults and so much more. I don't know if confronting is the right word to use, but the subject matter is certainly along those lines. Even eye opening seems like an exaggerated way of describing this film's themes. On the one side, we have Josh and Cornelia. They're middle aged and they're completely up to date with technology, completely utilising all of its features. Then on the other side is Jamie and Darby. They're young, hipsters and attempting to re-live a time without technology. All intriguing characters, all performed exquisitely.
Noah Baumbach does such a great job at contrasting the two, never making it in your face, but not being obviously subtle either. There's a brilliant scene in which the two couples are having a conversation and they're trying to remember a fact about ice cream. Josh pulls out his phone to google it, but is halted by Jamie, who would rather just not know than cheat and google the answer. Scenes like this are just the tip of the ice berg, for as the film continues, we're treated with a variety of different contrasts, leading to an ending that couldn't have been better.
To sum up, While We're Young is another success for Noah Baumbach, combining the themes of Wes Anderson with the humour of Woody Allen, and then sprinkling it off with his own unique approach, as well as casting brilliant actors to give brilliant performances.
3 1/2 Stars