Paolo Sorrentino just hit it out of the park here at Cannes, delivering what has to be the most compelling screening of everything I’ve seen here thus far with the possible exception of Carol. When it finally came to an end, the audience sat in stunned silence until at last the screen went totally dark… Both Caine and Keitel give career-best performances. One or the other is headed for the Best Actor race. Jane Fonda has a powerhouse few minutes on screen that could earn her an Oscar nomination as well, but with Fox Searchlight in the driver’s seat expect this film — catnip for Academy voters — to be represented in all of the major categories and perhaps to become a frontrunner to win.
This is a film of big ideas of the human experience, certainly among the most profound. Why are people so afraid of human touch? is one of the questions it examines. Is love meant to last? is another. It’s about show business, creativity, inspiration, but mostly about the eternal conflict between aging and youth. We have such power of attraction when we’re young but we often don’t learn how to properly wield that power till we’re old. The film is emphatic about its realization that we’re alive until we aren’t. It doesn’t matter whether that existence is important or insignificant, this universal truth remains.
From Paolo Sorrentino, the internationally renowned writer and director of Italy’s Oscar-winning foreign language film The Great Beauty, comes YOUTH – a poignant tale of how we each find our own passion in life. Starring Academy Award winner Michael Caine as Fred and Academy Award nominee Harvey Keitel as Mick, YOUTH explores the lifelong bond between two friends vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement. While Fred has no plans to resume his musical career despite the urging of his loving daughter Lena (Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz), Mick is intent on finishing the screenplay for what may be his last important film for his muse Brenda (Academy Award winner Jane Fonda). And where will inspiration lead their younger friend Jimmy (Paul Dano), an actor grasping to make sense of his next performance? Set against a sprawling landscape of unforgettable sights and intoxicating music, YOUTH asks if our most important and life-changing experiences can come at any time – even late – in life. YOUTH will open in theaters December 4, 2015