Review: 'Youth' a perfect blend of simplicity and subtlety

YOUTH: 4 ½ STARS

"Youth," the second English language film from "The Great Beauty" director Paolo Sorrentino, takes on some of life’s great questions, life and death stuff painted with remorse, hope and, most importantly, a large helping of whimsy.

See Full Article

Set in a chic hotel in alpine Switzerland, retired composer Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) and his childhood friend, film director Mick (Harvey Keitel) are plotting the next moves in their careers and lives.

Ballinger wants to disappear, fade away from public life and live quietly. He refuses repeated requests to perform his best known work at a command performance from Queen Elizabeth’s envoy (Alex Macqueen) and tells his assistant, Lena (Rachel Weisz) who also happens to be his daughter, to turn down a French publisher who desperately wants him to write a memoir.

Mick is in a different place. After a string of flops he’s writing a new film to feature his greatest star, Brenda Morel (Jane Fonda). They’ve made a dozen films together but he sees the new movie, "Life’s Last Day," as a comeback and their greatest collaboration.

"Youth" is a study of these two men. Other things happen of course; Lena’s husband leaves her for a pop star -- in a po-mo twist real life singer Paloma Faith plays herself as the home wrecker -- a movie star (Paul Dano) researches a new role at the hotel and Miss Universe (Madalina Diana Ghenea) makes a memorable appearance, but the attention is focussed on Fred and Mick and their divergent paths to happiness.

Their journeys are bathed in Sorrentino’s impeccable images. The film is a lush tapestry of beautifully composed frames and optical delight. Ornate and elegant, the visuals are as complex as the film’s multilayered look at life’s rich pageant.

Fred and Mick have lived life, and now in their final years try and assess the value of their experience. Sounds heavy but it’s not. It’s fleet footed, taking time only to luxuriate in the details of their lives and surroundings.

"Youth" is a mediation on life and age that succeeds by the director’s craft. Talking to a young colleague Mick demonstrates the effects of age by having her look at the distant mountains through a telescope. The mountains appear to be close. Then he flips the scope around and changes the perspective.

"Being young makes everything close," he says. "Being old makes everything far away."

Like the rest of the film it’s simple and subtle but is perfectly realized by Sorrentino’s mastery of blending story, ideas and images.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Bond 25 finds distribution from Universal, MGM

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - After more than a decade at Sony Pictures, James Bond has a few new partners. In a joint announcement Thursday, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said Universal Pictures will release the 25th installment of the superspy franchise internationally while MGM will handle the U.S. Source
  • TransLink pauses campaign featuring Morgan Freeman after allegations surface

    Entertainment CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Metro Vancouver's transit authority is pressing pause on a promotional campaign featuring Morgan Freeman, following a report detailing allegations of misconduct against the actor. TransLink said in a statement Thursday that it has decided to halt public announcements voiced by Freeman that had been set to play in the transit system as part of a Visa Canada advertising campaign. Source
  • Vancouver transit authority pauses Morgan Freeman campaign amid allegations

    Entertainment CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Metro Vancouver's transit authority is pressing pause on a promotional campaign featuring Morgan Freeman, following a report detailing allegations of misconduct against the actor. TransLink said in a statement Thursday that it has decided to halt public announcements voiced by Freeman that had been set to play in the transit system as part of a Visa Canada advertising campaign. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sexual misconduct probe: officials

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities Friday to face charges involving at least one of the women who have accused him of sexual assault, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein expected to surrender on sex assault charges

    Entertainment CBC News
    Former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to New York City police on charges of sexual misconduct on Friday morning, according to the New York Times and other news outlets. Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Weinstein, declined to comment on the report. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein expected to surrender on rape charges

    Entertainment CBC News
    Former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to New York City police on charges of sexual misconduct on Friday morning, according to the New York Times and other news outlets. Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Weinstein, declined to comment on the report. Source
  • Nova Scotia mulls fate of iconic Annie Leibovitz photography collection

    Entertainment CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government is reviving hopes that a collection of iconic portraits by famed American photographer Annie Leibovitz could be displayed at the provincial gallery. The influential works, including an introspective image of the Queen and a portrait of a pregnant Demi Moore, have been stuck in storage at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax as a tax battle was waged in Ottawa. Source
  • Morgan Freeman apologizes in wake of harassment accusations

    Entertainment CTV News
    Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman apologized on Thursday to anyone who may have felt "uncomfortable or disrespected" by his behaviour, after CNN reported that multiple women have accused the A-list actor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour on movie sets and in other professional settings. Source
  • Arrested Development co-stars apologize to Jessica Walter amid interview backlash

    Entertainment CBC News
    Jason Bateman and Tony Hale are apologizing for comments they made in defence of their Arrested Development co-star Jeffrey Tambor, who has been accused of verbal harassment of another co-star, Jessica Walter, on the show's set. In a series of tweets Thursday, Bateman says his comments were "wrong" and that it seemed like he was "condoning yelling at work. Source
  • Gwyneth Paltrow: Brad Pitt threatened Harvey Weinstein

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - Gwyneth Paltrow says ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatened producer Harvey Weinstein after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct. The 45-year-old actress told "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday she was "blindsided." Paltrow claimed she was 22 when Weinstein placed his hands on her at a hotel and suggested they go to a bedroom for massages. Source