Day 117: While We're Young (July, 4)

It frightens me how we still see stories highlighting the differences while talking about human relations. Sorry, maybe I should say it better: while talking about people connecting to each other, it is common to highlight the differences, the gap between them, and not what got them together. Course, there are productions that focus exactly on this gap, but I don't think it was the case here.

I'm not sure it is a better way to say it, but that's it. 

While We're Young presents a 40 something couple that becomes friends with two 25 married youngest couple. Both man are documentary filmmakers, one more experienced, the other trying to produce his own film. They have many things in common. However,  the focus here is not their connection, but the hidden agenda behind all the characters for such friendship.

My friends don't fit on a formula. They can be 25 years younger or 40 years older than me. It really doesn't matter. The person matters. My connection with them matters. Of course, there are some particularities by the age, and recognizing this, the rest is only love. They are the best friends one could ask for, and that's enough. So, if you want to tell me that the only way different people can relate is to fulfil and previous agenda, your argument will be moot. Sorry again. 

This movie presents two main reasons for those couples to stay friends: one, as said, is a hidden agenda by one of them... relations as a way to capitalize, very ordinary practice in current time. The other, is the how we can project our own desires and frustration in other people. Another very common way to interact. Both are futile and not a human connection at all. Just a way to get things done. 

I don't know that was the focus on this movie. We are aware that the (in)famous intention of an author can not be the focus in a discussion about a movie. It is impossible to achieve that, and it is not the point actually. For me, human relations were moot here. They are not people, but just means to sustain an opinion. It is so easy to fall on this trap while writing a story, I understand. But it is still a shame that a good plot could be missed among such messed up ideas. I've said here before: defend a thesis in a story is not a good way to present a narrative.

Josh and Cordelia don't fit in any group anymore. Most of their friends are having kids, they aren't.  It is one point of inadequacy, but there are others. And they don't fit with their new younger friends, because, duh, they're much younger - that's what the movie says, and I heartily disagree with that. That argument only are not enough for me. And what follows is even worse. I suggest a more careful observation of life and people next time.

Sorry once again if I'm being over acidic, but it really annoys me such hushed development of a good story. Those are experienced filmmakers, they are not perfect, but should have known better than to fall for such a cliche (Joe reminded me to be kind with it, that any film is a miracle for getting out of the paper, but I guess I'm not there yet). 

One thing caught me, though: the bits about cinema theory and documentaries. Some lines were so good, I don't understand. The script act on the opposite way of what the story want to tell. Such a waste. But this happens, and it is an easy mistake. To tell a story without fall on the alluring traps is really difficult, and only skillful storytellers can make it. We are lucky that there are many of them still around.  

An afterthought: Yesterday, I was a bit angry with this movie... I think you was able to notice that :) Today, I remembered something that called my attention: on a scene, the highlight in how the youngest are seeking old analogic technology more often - typewriters, records, tapes - at the same time that they deal with all digital technologies, while my generation is moving from old tecs and increasingly more digitalized. This scene is curious, a bit stereotyped as the rest, but an interesting contrast (until the ending, with a baby and a cel phone, in another cliched point in the movie). 

While We're young. Directed and written by Noah Baumbach. With: Naomi
Watts, Ben Stiller, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried. US, 2014, 97 min.
Dolby Digital, Color (Cinema).

PS: I thought a lot about Away we Go after this movie, on my way home. They're about a couple that don't feel that they fit or are able to go through a pregnancy by themselves, so they reach for their family and friends in pursuit of a good life for their unborn kid. It is so sweet, so endearing... we can relate to them. But, again, they are people... Cordelia and Josh are just stereotypes... there's not much to relate to then (Ok, if I bite my tongue today I'll probably be poisoned...).

PPS: Fragment: Locke, again. I was sitll in that car with Ivan, so...


  1. Well, I told you to keep that in mind, I'm glad you tried at least. But based on your review, I'd say I understand your frustration. Shame that this wasn't good.
    While reading through your words, I thought of another film with a similar vibe, but not exactly, but actually quite quirky and fun and good, it's "This Is Where I Leave You". Maybe try that one someday, I can bring you a copy next time if you want (along with "Heights").

    And yes, of course you watched Locke again! It's an amazing piece!! It's groundbreaking, really. Good on you :)

    [ j ]

    1. I really was stuck on Locke, in its impressive way to tell about a man and his life. I looked at This is Where I Leave You on imdb.com, looks good :)

      After this dare, my next blog will be Movies with Joe. What do you think? lol.

  2. PS: funny you should mention the "age is not important" factor in a friendship; in my film, not only does the lead guy has an older woman for a best friend (he's 24, she's 32 and I describe them as 'carrying a piece of each other's soul in their own') but also another character (Logan, I think you'll like him) hangs out with a group of best friends whose ages range from late twenties to early forties. So, I'm sure we think alike on that subject. As a matter of fact, a lot of my good friends are older than me.

    And yes, when this year-long challenge is over, we should do one together, maybe challenge each other to something. Should be fun ;)