As expected, Noah Baumbach‘s While We’re Young was the New York Film Festival’s “surprise” screening earlier this evening. It played just as well for me as it did the first time in Toronto. Here’s a recap of my 9.7 review: “This is Baumbach’s snappiest and most commercially appealing film yet. Not as darkly hilarious as Greenberg or as visually ravishing and mood-trippy as Frances Ha, but it’ll be well reviewed and catch on with most under-50 urban sophistos. It’s a nimble, fast-moving, culturally attuned relationship dramedy about a generational chasm (late 20somethings vs. 40somethings) or more precisely the vague sense of anxiety that somewhat older guys have about younger guys in their field or realm — a fear of being out-hustled or out-cultured and possibly even left behind if they’re not careful.
While We’re Young star Ben Stiller, director-writer Noah Baumbach during this evening’s post-screening q & a at Avery Fisher Hall.
COstars Adam Driver, Naomi Watts.
The fearful one would be Ben Stiller, a somewhat old-school, gone-stale documentarian who’s fascinated and flattered by the attentions of Adam Driver, a GenY hipster documentarian. Stiller is also a wee bit inimidated by Driver, and there’s the rub. Their saner, more emotionally healthy significant others are played by Naomi Watts and Amanda Seyfried and there are plenty more rubs coming from their end also. (“I’m not sure I want to be rubbed by you at all, young lady” — Rex Harrison‘s Julius Caesar in Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s Cleopatra.)
“While We’re Young is more than a little similar to Woody Allen‘s Crimes and Misdemeanors if you remove Woody’s unhappy marriage to whatsername plus the not-quite-affair with Mia Farrow plus Martin Landau‘s affair-and-murder plot. Like Stiller’s character, Allen also played a less-than-successful, career-frustrated documentarian who’s been working for too long on a doc that leans heavily on interview footage of a respected elderly egghead figure (Peter Yarrow in Baumbach’s film, psychologist Martin Bergmann in Allen’s). While Allen resented his wife’s glib, obnoxious, more successful older brother (Alan Alda), Stiller comes to resent the younger, less ethically constrained, destined-for-success Driver.
“And both films end with Stiller and Allen’s character resigned and glumly acknowledging that the world doesn’t care that much about his ethical concerns about Driver or Alda, and is more than ready to cut them a break while it has little respect or affection for 40ish under-achievers.”
Thanks to BlackFilm’s Wilson Morales for the first video.