Ben Oliver

Banner image for Youth


You say that emotions are overrated. But that’s bullshit. Emotions are all we’ve got.
29 January 2016

Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel ponder their existence in a Swiss luxury spa.

Like or loathe Youth, it’s a beautiful film. I saw it up on the big screen and it was so visually arresting people were in tears just looking at the frame. Sorrentino has such a rhythmic, emotional way of making films it’s impossible not to get swept up in it all. The soundtrack is beautifully worked in too, they’ve chosen music very well indeed.

Caine and Keitel make a good duo, they are charming and funny, their relationship feels genuine. Paul Dano and Rachel Weisz provide the supporting roles and are fine but the real stand out performance comes from Jane Fonda’s cameo. She arrives late in the film but absolutely knocks it out of the park as an ageing diva.

However, some of the things that irked me about The Great Beauty stand out even more here. Sorrentino sets a lot of stuff up and very little of it pays off, so instead of being profound it’s aimless and pretentious. Like Caine’s character in the film he seems almost apathetic, throwing ideas around and not caring about what sticks.

Youth frequently hits upon little nuggets of truth, yet at its core lies nothing. The emotion builds and builds with every scene but to no end. We’re left teary-eyed but empty-hearted.

This is not Sorrentino’s best work, and having seen what he’s capable of it’s hard not to be slightly disappointed by Youth. However, it’s still a charming, beautiful, emotional picture and one I’d happily re-visit at some point.

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