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While We’re Young

While We’re Young: Cast Chemistry Carries Wandering Indie Film

  • Adam DriverAmanda Seyfried...
  • ComedyDrama
  • Out now
  • Noah Baumbach
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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While We’re Young: Cast Chemistry Carries Wandering Indie Film

Often described as ‘the new Woody Allen’, writer-director Noah Baumbach – who made his film debut with Kicking and Screaming back in 1995 at the tender age of twenty-four – returns to the big screen with a distinctive dose of panache in the intelligent and witty cross-generation comedy, While We’re Young.  

Like so many indie, coming-of-age films, Baumbach’s latest production asks the impossible-to-answer questions in this game called life. Set in Brooklyn, New York, the story is centred on forty-something year-old married couple, Josh (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts), whose entire childless existence is brought into question when close friends Marina (Dizzia) and Fletcher (Horovitz) become parents for the first time. Forced to ask themselves some big life questions, the anxieties of being stuck in a rut, growing old and Josh not being able to finish his latest documentary project, are soon taken to another level when they meet a so-hip-it-hurts young couple, Jamie (Driver) and Darby (Seyfried). Charmed by their much-younger friends, Josh and Cornelia soon begin exploring and embracing their quirky life.

Written and directed by Baumbach himself, it’s definitely not the most even and balanced of pictures, though its honest and humorous look at the challenges of getting old proves to be a premise worth exploring. The funny and the not-so-funny differences between the two generations is portrayed with a mix of humour and sombre realism and it’s definitely not hard to spot a bit of Woody Allen-influence in the way the dialogue progresses.

As far as the performances go, Stiller is easy to root for and his portrayal of a middle-aged documentarian struggling to make sense of his existence is funny and relatable. Meanwhile, Watts, Driver and Seyfried are superb and the onscreen chemistry between all four is evident throughout.  

While We’re Young is one of those ambiguous indie-darling films that the critics have raved about, but audiences have been much more hesitant about – the old adage that we fear what we don't understand is just as true in the world of film. The plot is engaging and welcomingly simple, though there is a sense that Baumbach doesn’t really have a clear idea where he wants the story go. But there’s something endearing about its misguided and muddled nature that serves to be a perfect reflection on its equally disorientated characters.   

Like This? Try

Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012), The Squid and the Whale (2005)

360 Tip

At different stages of production, Cate Blanchett and James Franco were both cast, but ultimately had to drop out.

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