Youth is somewhat of a strange thing, for more than one reason. Firstly, it was a film I barely knew anything about until it was actually released, which being a writer for a film website is something that doesn’t happen very often. It’s also just a very strange film, but I’ll get into that later. This can be a good thing, as sometimes it’s nice to be surprised, and go into a film with literally no preconceived ideas of what you’re going to get. It also got nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars, so that’s something, right?
Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a retired composer, who now spends his life on a permanent holiday in a resort in the alps. When he receives an invitation from The Queen to perform at Prince Philip’s birthday, his reasons for saying no bring up some things from his past that he hasn’t thought about for a long time.
Trying to describe the plot of this film in one paragraph is a little bit tricky, as it’s not the kind of film that has a plot. It’s more of a character study, and a look at the way old age affects a person, and the people around them. If this sounds interesting to you, then it probably will be, but if this sounds a little bit too arty and pretentious for you, then it probably will be.
Youth is very style heavy, but unfortunately it often doesn’t work. There are a lot of visual metaphors, and as I mentioned earlier strange things happen throughout. These are the kind of choices people will either know they like, or know they don’t like. That being said, there are some great visuals, and some excellent acting, with Paul Dano’s ‘actor searching for himself’ being a particular stand out.
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