On Bluray this week from director/writer Paolo Sorrentino and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes the beauty of “Youth.”
Best friends Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) and Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) are on vacation in the Swiss Alps. Staying at a resort Fred is a composer who is now retired and Mick is a filmmaker trying to create a visual masterpiece.
Daughter Lena Ballinger (Rachel Weisz) joins her father to drop news that her husband Julian has left her for a pop star. That doesn’t surprise Fred, nor does it surprise Mick who is Julian’s father! Being her father’s assistant keeps Lena busy but not busy enough to tell her father exactly how she is feeling about her upbringing and her life in general.
Fred has also been asked to perform for the Queen and to write a book for the French. Both of these he turns down demanding to be left alone hanging on to the feeling that he is retired. When cornered on why, Fred finally let’s loose his reasons which move his daughter greatly.
Actor Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) is also there taking in the characters all around him. Jimmy is frustrated that people only remember his film playing a robot and wants to be known for more. He befriends Fred and tries to get him to share about himself.
Each person at the spa come to terms with their life, whether good or bad, trying to remember that there is always a future when you wake up every day.
Caine as Fred is absolutely stunning in this role. All the pain and sadness reside not only in what he says, but in those moments where he is alone remembering. Watching his personal story unfold was a combination of heartbreaking and heartwarming. Talk about the difficulties of emotional duality! Caine continues, even now, to surprise and delight me with every role he takes. There is nothing common or repetitive in his performances and in “Youth” he is breathtaking.
Keitel as Mick is a man working with a crew of writers to come up with a script that will show his ability to bring a great film to screen. It isn’t until he comes face to face with who he thinks will star in his film, Brenda Morel that he gets a punch in the verbal face with the reality of how he is seen in Hollywood. The scenes with Caine and their conversations are just a pure joy to watch.
Weisz as daughter Lena is going through her own life crisis when husband Julian seems to prefer the company of a young pop star. Dedicating her life to being her father’s assistant makes it difficult to deal with him about how this is all affecting her life. Weisz is still stunning in both performance and beauty.
Dano as Tree once again reaffirms that this actor brings so much to film that has yet to be noticed. The first performance I saw Dano in was “Little Miss Sunshine” in 2006 and I not only have made sure to see his previous work but continue to follow everything he has done since. From “There Will be Blood” to “Prisoners” to “12 Years a Slave,” Dano delivers solid performances that, in my opinion, need much more recognition. I loved watching his performance of Jimmy Tree and although stunned during one scene I shouldn’t have been – he is a treasure.
Two characters of note: Jane Fonda as Brenda Morel has a scene with Harvey Keitel that just rattled my brain. She has the verbal strength of ten men when she takes on Mick Boyle straightening him out about who owes who. The other performance is that of Luna Mijovic as the Young Masseuse. I can’t even explain what drew me to be fascinated by her but then again perhaps that was the point. She is amazing.
Other cast include: Ian Attard as the 1st Queens Emissary, Adam Smith as the 2nd Queens Emissary, Madalina Diana Ghenea as Miss Universe, Nate Dern as Funny Screenwriter, Alex Beckett as Bearded Screenwriter, Mark Gessner as Shy Screenwriter, Tom Lipinski as Screenwriter in Love, Chloe Pirrie as Girl Screenwriter, Luna Zimic Mijovic as the Masseuse and Jane Fonda as Brenda Morel.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is amazing to once again bring just what fans want for their home library. Continually bringing new entertainment content for everyone’s media library, their format includes DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. To discover more of what they have to offer please visit www.foxconnect.com.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Youth” four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Not only are these performances that awards are made of but stunningly portrayed. Receiving an Academy Award Nomination is not a surprise to me what so ever.
The cinematography is ethereal, stunning, and absolutely beautiful and has a day dream quality to it that completely melds with the storyline. It is the performances of Caine, Keitel, Weisz and Dano who are not only a joy to watch but are captivating in the characters they portray.
“Youth” garnered Jane Fonda a Golden Globe nomination. David Lang’s music composition of “Simple Song” also received a Golden Globe nomination as well as a nomination for an Academy Award.
The Bluray includes the Special Features of: Featurette of Michael Caine, Featurette of Paolo Sorrentino, Featurette of the cast, Featurette of the cast, music and sound, The Essence of Youth, 24-image gallery and Theatrical trailer.
In the end — youth isn’t wasted on anyone!