Friday, 10 April 2015
While we're young (3 Stars)
This is a film that I knew I had to see. It features three of my favourite actors, Adam Driver, Naomi Watts and Amanda Seyfried. I have respect for Ben Stiller's acting abilities as well.
Josh is a man in his mid 40's who films documentaries. In the past he was successful, but he's been working on his last documentary for 10 years, and there is no sign of it reaching a conclusion. We see him interviewing an old man who rambles on about subjects that are interesting in themselves, but have no connection to one another. His wife Cornelia is the son of a famous documentary filmmaker. All their friends have children, but Josh and Cornelia have been trying unsuccessfully for years to have a baby. All the magic has gone out of their life. They never do anything together because Josh is too busy with his film.
While giving a lecture Josh meets Jamie, a documentary filmmaker in his early 20's, and his wife Darby. Josh is fascinated by their spontaneity and introduces them to his wife. The two families become friends, while Josh and Jamie begin to work together on one another's documentaries.
First, let me say that the film is nothing like what I expected. The trailer makes it look like a comedy. It's true, the film does have a few jokes, most of which are included in the trailer, but it's not a funny film. The film is actually very serious, dealing with some serious issues. The main issue is the ethics of making documentaries. Is it necessary for a documentary to tell the absolute truth, if slight changes through dramatisation can make it more entertaining? It seems like the comedy elements were just woven into the film to lighten it up, so the comedy is only incidental.
I walked out of the cinema feeling confused. I was trying to remember all the arguments for and against the dramatisation of documentaries, but too much had been thrown at me in concentrated bursts. I would have preferred the film without the comedy.