Being a grown up… firstly, let me say that phrase is so off putting, I can’t believe I actually wrote it, but I digress. Let’s start again. Being an adult, and by that I mean living by the expectation that we’ve made our path our own and are so brilliantly happy with those decisions that we feel self satisfied, is frankly a bunch of bullshit. Few of us who identify as adults are completely content to say we’ve plateaued at the level of “Everything is Awesome”. Most if us are simply lying. It’s much easier to tell the younger generation that they’re doing it wrong (Because, if we’re being honest, self loathing, fear, and envy throw those words and thoughts into our frontal lobe pretty swiftly on a regular basis. But, are we completely wrong? When I watch some of the “interactions” between millennials these days, I have to wonder: “How do they live this way?!” When did “swiping to the left” becoming any way to meet anyone? How conceited do you have to be to not even give an individual more than a few seconds of attention before writing them off completely? Were we just as annoying, bold, outspoken, talented, brash, lost, self aware, smart, lazy, passionate, and entitled? WHILE WE’RE YOUNG is Noah Baumnach‘s new film starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin, and Adam Horovitz. In a day and age where technology makes life easier and harder all at once, a middle aged couple, Cornelia and Josh, think they’ve got it made; no kids, free schedule, and creative passion for filmmaking. When they meet young hipster couple Darby and Jamie, their preconceived notions of what life should be like are thrown into a bit of chaos. Jaime is a huge fan of Josh’s work. The young couple boldly asks if Cornelia and Josh want to hang out with them. What would a middle aged couple have in common with a barely mid twenties couple? Turns out a lot, if a lot meant doing all the things we did in our youth that almost seem ironic to a millennial generation. But fondness might just be an act of manipulation forcing Cornelia and Josh to grow up themselves.
Ben Stiller gives us a really grounded performance. You know this guy. While still having perfect comic timing, he plays Josh as a genuinely earnest guy trying to reinvent his life and marriage. Naomi Watts as Cornelia is hilarious and heartbreaking. Struggling with fertility issues she attempts to pass off as not so big a deal, she connects with Darby over the simple moments, woman to woman. Speaking of Darby, Amanda Seyfried plays this character with a gentle ease. Her down to earth attitude is refreshing and she remains altogether likable. Adam Driver, whose stock is has taken off since GIRLS began, is fantastic. His combination of perceived sincerity and inflated ego trips are spot on for this generation. Charles Grodin plays Cornelia’s documentarian father, Leslie. He is the father we all wish we had. Loving, guiding, with a hint of cynicism, Grodin is a delight on screen.
In a world where every moment can be edited with an app, Baumbach throws our societal downfalls back into our own faces. He has a habit of injecting personal moments into his scripts. They play with an elegant ease and familiarity that touch a wide audience. For Baumbach, writing what he knows has been extraordinarily successful in his previous films like The Squid and the Whale, Kicking and Screaming, and Frances Ha. The film has an eclectic soundtrack, with tracks from Vivaldi, The Psychedelic Furs, David Bowie and HAIM. WHILE WE’RE YOUNG is heartfelt, funny, and a real joy to watch. The struggle between Gen X and millennials is a revelation on screen. I highly recommend this film to audiences of all ages. You will walk away one happy camper, I assure you.
WHILE WE’RE YOUNG opens today! (Friday, March 27th)