Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Youth: Monday, December 28 2015

Once again the question sprang into my mind unbidden, did Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel need the money when they agreed to play in Youth? They don't seem the type to play in this kind of artistic production.

This is an Italian film, the second English-language film directed by Paolo Sorrentino. The story takes place in a Swiss Spa designed to renew the youth of those who attend and partake of its services. Fred Ballinger, played by Michael Caine, goes through a catharsis while Mike Boyle, played by Harvey Keitel, takes another way out of his despair. This despair is caused by Brenda Morel, played by Jane Fonda. She has told Mike that she won't star in his latest planned film as she is moving to television. Film is finished, television is the new way, and Mike is a failure. I hardly recognized Jane Fonda. As Maureen said, it was highly courageous of her to take this part of such a nasty person.

It seemed to me that here was a director in love with all the grand themes he sees in his story. Youth and old age; life and death; success and failure; commitment and betrayal. He lovingly moves through each one, lingerly. I had a struggle to keep my eyes open. In fact, I think I did drift away now and again. The film is meant to be a comedy-drama. I'm glad to hear it. I've no idea what was meant to be funny. Perhaps it is a male-female thing. Not that I remember hearing any of the men in the audience laughing.

This doesn't appear to be an Art Film, of that specific genre. It certainly isn't aimed at the general market that wants to be entertained. Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel got me into the cineplex, but what a waste of time.

I guess I'm not the market for this film. Would I recommend it to anyone? Judging by my friends' reaction it would be better if I didn't.

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