“ You say emothions are overrated. But that’s bullshit. Emotions are all we’ve got.”
Cinema as an art form has it’s moments that makes you wonder what we define as “art.” While I might be referring to the last few Adam Sandler movies, the fact is Hollywood put out a lot of movies each year and when you do that, you will have the good and the bad. The last three months of the year are usually reserved for the cream of the crop of the cinema world as it is award season, and these films will be the ones we hear coming up again and again.
“Youth” might be one of those titles you hear, as it tells the story of two friends in the twilight of their life. Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a composer who has made some beautiful music in his life. He is retired now, and is on holiday with his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) at a resort in the Alps. Ballinger also has his friend Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel), a film director who has brought along a group of writers to help him with his next film. This resort they are all at is a spot for the who’s who of the world, and might be positioned in one of the most perfect places on earth. Ballinger is retired, but it seems the Queen of England would like him to perform for her sons birthday, as his music is his favorite. Not wanting to perform the songs without his wife, Ballinger tells them no. Not long is his time, as with his daughter and Boyle, as spent questioning the past, love, and all the other things that go with living.
You can say one thing about writer and director Paolo Sorrentino, he has a thing for the twilight of life. He last film, “The Great Beauty”, also dealt with a very similar theme. It’s also not the only thing that those two films have in common; they are both beautiful to look at. The images on the screen often feel like canvases that the filmmaker has painted perfect looking pictures on. Sure the locating has a lot to do with that, but its also Sorrentino’s eye as well. Beauty is not the only thing this film has going for it, the three leads, Caine, Weisz, and especially Keitel, all give great performances. Also in the film are Jane Fonda and Paul Dano, who play actors, one on her way down, while the other is on his way up. While there are a lot of things working for this movie, the pace is on the slower side, but for me, the chance to look at what was on the screen and the performances outweighed the pace of the film. This movie won’t be for everyone, but for the ones who still believe in the art of cinema, this film is for you. The picturesque images will often remind you or those wallpapers on your computer, only in this case it has a story to tell, one that is worth the watch.