30 November 2015 | El_John
Beautiful film with some flaws in the dialogue
If there ever was a trailer that could not sell his movie right, then it is the one for ''Youth'' by acclaimed director Paolo Sorrentino, who's previous film was the Oscar-winning ''The Great Beauty''. The trailer made it look like a generic feel-good comedy, but it turned out to be a heart-warming, emotional and beautiful film.
The story takes place in a resort hotel in the Alps, where a retired conductor (Michael Caine) and his friend, a film director (Harvey Keitel) who writes the screenplay for his ''Testament'', are on holiday. Both are confronted with their past, future and momentariness.
Both actors have a great supporting cast on their side, everyone with their own burdens: Rachel Weisz plays Caine's daughter who is also his assistant, who feels neglected by her father and, in an great emotional monologue, expresses her feelings towards him. Paul Dano plays a character actor who is only known for a single insignificant role and wants to be recognized as a versatile actor. Jane Fonda plays a Diva who was a regular collaborator with Keitel's character and also has a great dialogue scene with him. Other characters are a retired Maradonaesque football player and a masseuse who touches than talks and many other great characters.
It would seem that all these ''damaged'' characters would give this film an overly sentimental tone, but drama and humor is so well balanced that the shift between comedy (and there is a lot of it) and drama never seems abrupt and doesn't interrupt the pacing of the film.
From the first minute on one will clearly see what Sorrentinos strength as a director is: Extremely beautiful visuals. Whether it is just the landscape or the daily routine of the people within the hotel: Every frame is just beautifully composed and looks astonishing. Rarely can a film with a run time of 2 hours constantly produce one great looking shot after the other. In combination with the great score by David Lang, ''Youth'' creates a unique and relaxing atmosphere that will ensure a great time at the theater.
As great as this movie may sound so far, it unfortunately is not flawless. As funny and great the dialogue is, at times it ruins the film completely with how unsubtle some of the important character moments are. In one scene, Caine and Dano are in a store and a little girl approaches Dano. She tells him that she knows him from a movie. He immediately assumes that she is referring to his robot role, but then she talks about a little known drama and tells him how it affected her life and instantly after her dialogue is finished she runs away with the camera facing Danos reaction so everybody in the audience knows that it was an important scene for his character. Another examples would be ham fisted lines like: ''What awaits me outside?'' -''Youth'' or the scene with the binocular from the trailer. The problem with these scenes is not that they are bad, on the contrary, they are important for the films' themes and characters. The problem is that they feel disconnected from the narrative and do not feel like they fit naturally within the plot.