Youth—Directed and screenplay by Paolo Sorrentino/starring Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Harvey Keitel, Jane Fonda, Paul Dano/1hr58min/rated R
Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(BR): There are just not enough Oscars and other awards this year, when performances like Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel are not even mentioned. They also have to contend with each other in the same movie. Then, there is the Jane Fonda performance. She was nominated for a Golden Globe, yet her part was essentially minimal, not that it wasn’t good, but certainly not better than either of the lead actors. In this film Harvey Keitel and Michael Caine are at their finest, knowing well they didn’t jump out of planes, or off of buildings, or blow up anything, or use heavy make-up or special effects of any kind. I hope this doesn’t make the competition more difficult for them, when in fact it’s the “acting” that should be the primary consideration for any of these awards. There are awards for special effects. The European flavor was very evident in this film, both in the way the director/writer took special care to frame every scene, and put memorable words in the mouths of his characters. I came away from this movie totally immersed in its content, reliving several scenes on the car ride home, even though, I felt it a bit slow at the outset. I give this film four binoculars out of five.
(OG): Honestly, I was almost lulled to sleep in the first 15 minutes of this film. It sneaks up on you. The presentation is so unusual for the U.S. market, very Italian in my opinion, that without the usual explosions, murders, or wild chases I was tricked into thinking that nothing was happening. By the time I realized that this was indeed my kind of movie (great scenery, detail to staging and incredible dialogue) I had missed some of what I used to love going to the movies to see. The director/writer steers his actors (I’m using the generic term here) exactly where he wants them to go. Every syllable is written and delivered with purpose. There is not an ounce of fat. I can still relive many of the scenes in my head, and already want to see this film again, so that I don’t miss anything in the opening scenes. It is a very beautiful film, reminiscent (in my mind) Francis Ford Coppola’s very underappreciated masterpiece, TEATRO, with of dash of Fellini. There was only one scene that seemed forced to me, and that was when a character explained the title, YOUTH. For that, I’ll deduct a monocle and give this film four-and-a-half binoculars.
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