Country: Italy / Switzerland / others
Movie Review: The notable Italian director, Paolo Sorrentino, has a more nostalgic come back with “Youth”, an expressionistic and unflappable poetic opus reflecting on life, work, and creativity, aspects that are differently regarded by two aging, lifelong friends who are spending a period of time in a Swiss spa located near the Alps. The retired maestro and composer, Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine), became embittered and apathetic after his beloved wife got sick, having no intention to conduct again. He often enjoys the presence of his best friend and filmmaker, Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) who, in turn, is overexcited with a new upcoming film that he intends to turn into a testament of life, the perfect ending for his career. The good friends like to take long walks, during which they talk about past happenings in detail, agreeing they’ve become forgetful. Occasionally, Fred and Mick have the company of a downcast Hollywood actor, Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano), and of Fred’s daughter, Lena (Rachel Weisz) who is trying to cope with the recent separation from Julian, Mick’s son, who has found in the eccentric pop-star, Paloma Faith (herself), his reason to live. Even the Argentine former soccer star, Maradona (Rolly Serrano), is present, attending to his bad shape, which also makes him wonder about the future. Apart from these secondary and yet conspicuous characters, it’s enriching to see how Fred and Mick change significantly when facing two personal challenges: the former received an invitation to play for the queen of England, while the latter gets disappointed when his first-choice actress, Brenda, refuses to participate in his film. Bringing to mind Raul Ruiz’s final work, the observant “Youth” doesn’t exhibit the same catchy sumptuousness as “The Great Beauty”, but still manages to create a salutary harmony when it puts together the diversified score, gentle pace, sturdy photography, and reliable performances. The hearty musical finale doesn’t beat Petzold’s “Phoenix”; anyhow, it’s still worthy of mention.