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CANNES 2015 Review: Youth

Following director Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar win for The Great Beauty, the apprehension for his follow-up film was quite high. Youth, Sorrentino’s latest, it perhaps much too similar to its predecessor, yet this may be exactly why the film works.

Set in a luxury resort in the Swiss Alps, Youth follows Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) in his retirement. Ballinger spends his days lounging with his best friend, director Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel), as the two discuss the true meanings of life, love, and loss. Surrounded by an incredible supporting team that includes Jane Fonda, Rachel Weisz, and Paul Dano, the two thespians are able to show off their best talents.

The cinematography is quite similar to that in The Great Beauty, and Caine’s Ballinger may resemble Toni Servillo’s Jep Gambardella just a little too much, but those who disliked The Great Beauty should not stay away. Sorrentino’s latest removes the cynical core of his previous film, this time focusing on the joys of life, rather than its disappointments. Intact remains Sorrentino’s dark humor, alleviating the film between some of its heavy moments, and damn are they heavy. One scene between Caine and Weisz will remind viewers why the latter is one of our greatest actresses.

Youth is not a film for everyone. Though in English, it is quite European in style and sensibilities, making it a unique, and often excellent film.

[star v=4]

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.