I don’t know if Youth is considered an “art film.” The movie from writer/director Paolo Sorrentino does have some of the traits: lush cinematography (courtesy of Luca Bigazzi). There are moments of surreality (if that’s even a word). Sorrentino is not afraid of silence, which can often say more than dialogue. Some scenes appear at first to be meaningless, but give insight to the characters. Youth may not be “Felliniesque”–detractors may call it “Fellini lite”–but no matter. I have a fondness for this film.
The main story revolves around long time friends Fred, (Michael Caine) and Mick, (Harvey Keitel) who are on holiday at a super swank resort in the Swiss Alps. Alex MacQueen plays an emmisary of Queen Elizibeth II. He arrives at the resort with a request (or should I say “command”) from her Royal Highness. She would like Fred to conduct a performance of his “Simple Songs” at an event in honor of her husband, Prince Philip, because they are a favorite of his (I’ll just leave that for you to ponder). Fred refuses “for personal reasons.”
Mick is a fimmaker, and he has brought along a group of young screenwriters to work on a screenplay. Fred’s daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) is married to Mick’s son, Julian (Ed Stoppard) . . . Right up until Julian leaves Lena for pop singer Paloma Faith (playing herself). So that happened.
If you think Paloma Faith appearing in this film is odd, wait until you get a load of the character played by Roly Serrano. He’s billed in the credits as “South American,” but he’s playing Diego Freaking Maradona. At one point, Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) gets off the most brilliant (but obvious) joke at the South American’s expense. It’s funny, because it’s true.
Jimmy Tree is an actor who is spendind his time at the resort prepping a role for his next film. He hates the fact that everyone remembers him for an early role, playing a robot. Paul Dano is not the only actor in Youth who is playing an actor. Jane Fonda steals the film as Brenda Morel, who has appeared in a number of Mick’s films. Brenda looks like the love child of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. I’ll let you work out the details.
Oh, and Miss Universe shows up at the resort. I don’t know which planet she represents, but it sure as hell isn’t Raxicoricofallapatorius. This isn’t a real Miss Universe, but a character played by Madalina Diana Ghenea. I had never heard of her, but after a quick Google, I discovered that she has dated a few famous people. Yes, she’s been “Butlered.” I would say that I’d like to see more of her, but I saw pretty much everything in Youth. So, I’ll say that I wouldn’t mind seeing all of her again.