Time and time again, the “midlife crisis” movie has been made and well-received. Some that come to mind are 1999’s “American Beauty” and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait’s black comedy “God Bless America,” released in 2012.
However, so few do it in such a way as the films of Noah Baumbach. “While We’re Young” is no exception.
“While We’re Young” stars Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver and former Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz with music by producer and former LCD Soundsystem front man James Murphy.
Josh Stebnick (Stiller) is a documentarian who, while teaching an extended education class on documentary filmmaking, meets Jamie (Driver) and Darby (Seyfried), a couple of Brooklyn hipsters that live spontaneously and carefree.
Over the course of dinner with the couple and his wife Cornelia (Watts), Josh decides to strike up a friendship when he learns Jamie is an aspiring documentarian and plans to take him on as his protégé.
Throughout the course of their friendship, Josh and Cornelia follow along to the usual haunts that Jamie and Darby inhabit in their daily lives: visiting after-hours gay bars, walking through subway tunnels, having “street beach” parties and even having hallucinatory heart-to-hearts while participating in a bizarre ayahuasca ceremony.
What starts as a way to escape the “cult of parenthood,” their friends Fletcher (Horovitz) and Marina (“Orange Is the New Black’s” Maria Dizzia) become alienated by others following the birth of their daughter Willow.
Throughout the course of the film, a bit of resentment comes from the parents who show disdain toward Josh and Cornelia for abandoning them in favor of younger friends.
While the plot mostly focuses on the friendship between Josh, Cornelia, Jamie and Darby, the story also touches on Josh’s continuous feelings of resentment for Jamie.
He comes up with a documentary concept that completely takes off while his remains in limbo, anxiously waiting for a grant to come through so that he can finish it.
In one of the most humorous ways and at the same time sobering, Noah Baumbach conveys the midlife crisis in a very quirky “indie film” way that will leave audiences laughing and maybe even in tears, should they feel Josh’s situations emulate their own.
The cast of this film is one whose roles fit them almost perfectly: Stiller’s constant cynicism and sarcasm throughout his career, as well as Baumbach’s last film “Greenberg,” Amanda Seyfried as a joyous and carefree young soul, and Ad-Rock as a once-hip, now suburban parent.
If there’s a movie to see this spring, make sure it’s “While We’re Young,” a whopping dramedy about midlife and young adulthood and following one’s dreams at all costs.