Director: Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Paloma Faith Verdict: Age is just a number that never adds up
LOOKING for a film this summer that is warm, wise, serenely calming and completely at odds with anything else you have seen this past year?
Then throw your arms around Youth as soon as you can. And do not let go.
Though a tenderly reflective tone is very carefully sustained throughout Youth, this beguiling mood piece is also pulsing with a restless energy that will keep viewers engaged and alert.
The principal setting is an exclusive hotel spa in a remote region of the Swiss Alps, a starkly designed, yet highly atmospheric architectural marvel which is home to two old friends.
The first is Fred Bellinger (Michael Caine), an acclaimed orchestra conductor unwilling to share his rare musical gift with the world any longer. Fred is what you would call an out-and-proud recluse.
He still entertains lucrative offers from all over the globe – the Queen and Prince Philip want him for the next knees-up at Buckingham Palace – and remains approachable to a fault for any fans and admirers who wish to pay their respects.
So why the silent treatment when it comes to music? Fred has his reasons. He will let you in on a very private secret in good time.
Fred’s closest confidante is Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel), a wily veteran film director still determined to make one last definitive screen statement.
Mick and Fred are not the kind of friends who finish each other’s sentences. They are the kind of friends who have reached that depth of understanding where there is so much more to be gleaned from what has not been (and may never be) said.
If you fell under the spell of the sublime Italian Oscar-winner The Great Beauty a few summers ago, then the news Youth hails from that film’s writer-director Paolo Sorrentino will be all the encouragement needed to love and cherish his latest work.
As for Caine (is he really 82?) and Keitel (a welcome return from a lengthy absence), both will leave you wishing you may see out your own twilight years with a true lifelong friend at your side.
Rachel Weisz co-stars.