Main Plot Points:
- Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are Josh and Cornelia Srebnick, happily married middle-aged members of New York’s creative class. They tried to start a family and were unable to – and have decided they’re okay with that. But as Josh labors over the umpteenth edit of his cerebral new film, it’s plain that he has hit a dry patch and that something is still missing.
- Enter Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a free-spirited young couple, who are spontaneous and untethered, ready to drop everything in pursuit of their next passion – retro board games one day, acquiring a pet chicken the next. For Josh, it’s as if a door has opened back to his youth – or a youth he wishes he once had.
- It’s not long before the restless forty-somethings, Josh and Cornelia, throw aside friends their own age – including Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz in a sly supporting role – to trail after these young hipsters who seem so plugged in, so uninhibited, so Brooklyn cool. “Before we met,” Josh admits to Jamie, “the only two feelings I had left were wistful and disdainful.” But is this new inspiration enough to sustain collaboration and friendship with a couple twenty years their junior?
What We Thought:
- My exposure to Noah Baumbach films has been pretty limited. I know he’s a well-liked filmmaker, but for some reason his films have always escaped my viewing schedule.
- While We’re Young is a pretty good place to start, then It’s a pretty enjoyable film. The story is about Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts’s early-40s couple, who are feeling a bit stagnant in life. Their friends have babies, their marriage is solid but unexciting, and their careers are in a holding pattern. Then they meet Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried’s young bohemian couple and start to feel reinvigorated.
- I don’t generally like Ben Stiller, but he puts his rakish nature to work here. His character is likable enough, but he’s a real person, full of grouchy moments, sarcasm, and genuine uncertainty about how the world works. Naomi Watts is absolutely terrific here, while Adam Driver is extremely funny as the young filmmaker who doesn’t take life seriously at all. (Or does he?) Also, the Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz shows up in a supporting role and is surprisingly good.
- The thing that struck me the most about the film is how much of it I related to. As someone who’s not too far away from the ages of Stiller and Watts’ characters, I totally understand most of what they’re going through. I also could relate to the friends who have kids (since I do) and how the difference between having kids and not having kids can put a strain on a friendship. This is a film filled with realistic situations and well-drawn characters.
- But that doesn’t mean it’s overly serious. While it would be classified as a dramedy, there are a lot of laughs to be found alongside the emotional scenes. It’s actually a perfect balance.
- If the film has any flaws, it’s that some of the characters can sometime be a bit grating. Not too much (and again, probably as much as real people in real life can sometimes get on your nerves), but enough. I also kind of hated the very last scene of the film. Literally, the last 10 seconds of the movie annoyed me. Everything up to that, I enjoyed quite a bit.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Ben Stiller
- Adam Driver
- Naomi Watts
- Amanda Seyfried
Recommended if You Like:
- Movies about real people
- The Squid & The Whale
- Noah Baumbach film