After watching Greenberg I had very high expectations for While We’re Young. I was not disappointed. The thing I absolutely love about Noah Baumach is he utilises comedy to highlight real problems with society or personal issues people face, but in a subtle way. He doesn’t have an in your face attitude to film making or writing which is something I really connect to. This is first and foremost a comedy, but it is so much more than that with subtext being the most important part of the entire film and it is FANTASTIC.
While We’re Young is about a couple, Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Josh (Ben Stiller), caught in the routine of every day life and beginning to lose the spark out of their marriage. They see their friends have babies which they can’t do and begin to feel inadequate. Cornelia works for her father and Josh has been working on a documentary for 8 years. When a young couple confront Josh in a class he teaches and express interest in his work he feels flattered and they quickly become friends. In a way I think the young couple are a shadow of the relationship Josh and Cornelia once had (in their eyes) which is why they are so transfixed with them – the young couple are disconnected from technology (to an extent) with reminds them of their early relationship. Anyway, back to the plot, The young man in the yonger couple (Jamie played by Adam Driver) uses Josh and all of Josh’s connections to get his documentary made through manipulation.
This is an incredible film. It is very aware of the effects technology has on our every day life and isn’t afraid to show it. My favourite scene is the last one in which Josh and Cornelia see a baby playing with a phone and using it as an adult would. In a way I think they are bothered by the fact their child will be growing up in this generation where humans are incredibly reliant on their smartphones whilst realising that they are part of the problem because children mimic behaviours from their parents.
Technically this is a very intelligent film. Lighting and sound is used heavily and well to express how Josh feels (as more than anything this film is about Josh’s reality check). The most prominent scene which shows this off is the one after Josh and Cornelia have just finished their first lunch with the new couple who are riding off on their bikes, we see white light positioned just behind the new couple as if a light bulb has just been switched on in Josh’s head. One of my favourite part of the entire film (which is actually in the same scene) is when Josh says he will get the bill then you hear a bike chain being jangled (like change). The film is full of clever transitions like this and really impressed me.
I highly recommend this film to anyone and everyone, but in particular those who like satirical comedy in its finest form. Which leads me to the writing, I am a huge fan of Noah Baumach’s writing (especially Greenberg, While We’re Young and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [which he co-wrote with Wes Anderson]) because he has this way of making even the funniest scenes heart-warming or emotional and is very good at being subtle.
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watt’s are so great in this film (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfriend are great too) to the point that I actually believed them as a couple and was rooting for them at the end. The acting in this film in general terms is fantastic and very fitting to the themes. Ben Stiller has really managed to become one of my favourite actors with projects similar to this and this film has confirmed that I love his acting and the projects he is taking.
If I had to say something negative about the film I would perhaps mention the pacing is a little off, but I actually think that is intentional to show how the characters lives are moving – fast or slow.
Have you seen the film? What did you think?