TIFF 2014: While We’re Young
Two years ago Noah Baumbach charmed Toronto audiences with Frances Ha, although fans of the whimsical free-form narrative in his last film might be disappointed with the concise structure and fastened script found in his latest film While We’re Young. Forty-something married couple Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) begin to notice the signs of growing older–close friends are having babies, arthritis settles in, and bed time is always at 11 o’clock sharp. Though it’s when they meet a spontaneous mid-20s couple Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) that they really start to question their own lives.
There’s a huge age gap between the couples which accounts for how differently they act and think from each other. Though ironically, it’s the older couple that has the CD collection and prefers digital films while the younger one enjoys antiquated technology like vinyl records and VHS tapes. Spending time with the impromptu hipster couple makes Josh and Cornelia feel young again, envying the way they show unconditional love towards each other. But they soon realize it’s easy to take for granted what already you have and that everyone has their own problems.
Unlike Frances Ha which pleased critics and the arthouse crowd, While We’re Young tightens things up on all levels, making it appeal to a wider audience. While the comedy is more conventional, it’s nonetheless a very funny film thanks to a wonderful cast led by Stiller and Driver. Baumbach continues to show he has a knack for creating relatable characters, this time in the form of relationship routines and the act of growing old. Despite a formulated script and an awkward rant on Fair Use policies, While We’re Young remains a very watchable film that many people will find enjoyable.