I saw Paolo Sorrentino’s previous film (The Great Beauty) before I saw Youth and The Great Beauty got me really hyped for Youth. Alas, the hype was misguided…
Youth centers around a hotel in the Swiss Alps and its many minded residents including retired orchestra conductor Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) and his best friend, struggling director Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel). Accompanying these two is the daughter to the former conductor, Lena Ballinger (Rachel Weisz) and talented and insightful (yet regretful) actor Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano).
Michael Caine is brilliant as the retired orchestra conductor proving his acting chops and drawing un-flaunted attention in every scene he’s in. Harvey Keitel is increasingly believable as the struggling director working with young writers who don’t understand much about life. Rachel Weisz isn’t as great as she’s known to be as her role isn’t particularly impacting. But Paul Dano is just adding to his short (yet growing) list of brilliant roles as he portrays an actor tired of misguided recognition.
Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty was a true work of art in it’s writing, directing and essence. Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth is less so in both cases lacking in writing, directing and essence. For instance, the pacing in Youth is all wrong.
With the story being set in a hotel, one can assume that the film follows multiple stories (as it should) and this should be relatively simple to present. However Youth either makes the stories too short, too long or too incomplete.
The main theme of Youth and the linking factors in the characters was supposed to be the difference between experience in life and the discovery of it. However within the badly paced script and the reliance on “beauty” comes the loss of that message.
Youth should’ve been and almost is a beautiful film. Its performances are great, particularly Paul Dano and the scenery is gorgeous. But since the writing and story was lacking a lot, the film was lacking a lot.
What did you think of Youth? Leave a comment on the side and don’t forget to follow my Instagram page for movie posters.