NYFF 52 in the Rearview: While We’re Young (2014)

while we're young

(Sorry this one has been sitting in the draft folder for a minute …)

For the final recap of my 2014 New York Film Festival experience, I would like to discuss Noah Baumbach’s latest feature, While We’re Young. The ensemble cast is led by Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a middle aged couple, finding themselves at a crossroads.

On this journey to find something new or rewarding in their lives, they take up with a hipster couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried), who are not all that they appeared to be, although we know for sure they are hipsters because they 1) live in a loft in Brooklyn, 2) ride bikes, 3) make their own ice cream.  I could go on, but I think you get the point.

That is a very brief description, I realize; hope you got the gist of the spirit of the piece and kinda sorta can determine the direction and shape the narrative will take. There are, of course, additional details which deal with the interpersonal relationships, not just of the principal characters, but also with:

  • the growing estrangement from one’s close friends who are now dealing with their newly-established parenthood (somewhat relateable)
  • the continuing struggle (even in middle age – yes folks it never stops) to find one’s footing in the world (very relateable).

In the case of the latter, it is Ben Stiller’s character, a filmmaker dealing with living in the shadows of his father in law (played by Charles Grodin). There is an ironically meant subplot dealing with the subject of Stiller’s documentary, a professor played by Peter Yarrow or “Peter, Paul and Mary” fame.

Having quite enjoyed Baumbach’s previous outing, Frances Ha, I had a degree of goodwill when this was presented as a “surprise screening” at the festival. And while While We’re Young is clearly a well-made film with some solid performances and a good soundtrack, I found myself sitting through the screening quite disengaged from the action. That is to say this film might not be for everyone.

I am curious though – have any of you seen it? And if so, what were your thoughts? Hit the comments section below and SHARE SHARE SHARE!

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