Aging gracefully is never easy, and it may be worse for artists. Josh Srebnick (Ben Stiller) is a New York documentarian who never quite got his due. As he labours over the umpteenth edit of his cerebral new film, it is plain that he has hit a creative dry patch. Josh and his wife, Cornelia (Naomi Watts, Birdman), tried to start a family and were unable—and have decided they are okay with that. Yet for Josh, there is something still missing.
Enter Jamie (Adam Driver, Tracks, Inside Llewyn Davis) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), who approach Josh after a class he teaches. A young artist couple, they are spontaneous and untethered, ready to drop everything in pursuit of their next passion—retro board games one day, acquiring a pet chicken the next. For Josh, it is as if a door has opened back to his youth.
It is not long before the unhappy fortysomethings Josh and Cornelia throw aside friends their own age—including Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz in a sly supporting role—to trail after these young hipsters who seem so plugged in, so uninhibited, so Brooklyn cool. “Before we met,” Josh admits, “the only two feelings I had left were wistful and disdainful.” But is this new inspiration enough to sustain collaboration with artists twenty years his junior?
While We’re Young is Noah Baumbach’s sparkling follow-up to Frances Ha. Where that film was a delightful, minimalist screwball comedy, this look at New York’s creative class is a more openly funny social portrait, capturing the weird, upended logic of urban sophisticates: the older ones embrace their iPads and Netflix, the young ones crave vinyl records and vintage VHS tapes.
Powered by Stiller’s note-perfect lead performance and loose, comic turns by Watts and Seyfried, While We’re Young is a complete pleasure to watch. And, as the most surprising character in the mix, Jamie adds one more layer to Driver’s hipster persona.
“An almost perfect 90-minute hit of confident and inspired comedic commentary. ” (Catherine Shoard, The Guardian)
“While a truly original comedy, While We’re Young is the rare one that also laces rich thematic elements with wonderfully drawn characters to create a picture that’s as genuinely hilarious as it is thoughtful about how hopes, ambitions, dreams and ideals of personal and creative accomplishments that ebb and flow across decades.” (Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist)