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While We’re Young

While We're Young film posterSynopsis

Noah Baumbach’s comedy about Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) in their 40s trying to relive their younger years. They are befriended by Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried).  Cornelia gets into hip hop and Josh collaborates with Jamie in a documentary. Cornelia is childless but wants a child.  Josh and Jamie discuss the nature of film.  The two couples want rejuvenation through peyote-induced therapy techniques.  There is confrontation between James and Josh at the end.

Review

This is very Woody Allen (yuk).  Middle aged and middle class averagely insane narcissists worried about the direction of their lives.  I certainly didn’t sympathize with their plight, I just wish they’d grow up less embarrassingly.   It’s like all those productions in which the younger people are often more mature than the silly middle aged.  Cornelia gets involved with Mum-set types and wants a child (this is the usual Hollywood lecture, that having kids is the ultimate in life).  Josh and Cornelia want to get back to their lives before they used Google and Twitter.  They want to revive the romanticism of their first meeting.  Josh tells Cornelia it’s idiotic to text or phone each other first date wise when they’re (erm) living in the same room.  It’s Bob Ted Carol and Alice in reverse, not married couples experimenting with sexual drugs but getting back to basics.  Naturally Jamie and Darby listen to vinyl records, and to tapes, and use typewriters, and these are the things that Josh and Cornelia discarded.  Darby makes ice cream, how quirkily hip my dear!  Josh and Jamie agonise about documentary film and the nature of truth, which of course reflects the endless search for authenticity in their personal lives.  Jamie is not the seeker of truth he seems to be but can be coldly manipulative and career orientated, more than his idealistic pose would have Josh believe.  Josh has a problem with this but shouldn’t he look deeper into his art? There is guilt ridden theorising about it. The ayahuesca sessions are reminiscent of those obligatory visits to such places as the Esden Centre that middle aged hippies used to visit.  Irritating!!!!

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2015 in At the cinema, Film Reviews

 

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Tracks

Tracks film posterSynopsis

Starring Mia Wasikowska as Robyn Davidson who crossed the Australian desert in 1977 with four camels and a dog.  Adam Driver plays the National Geographic photographer (Rick Smolen) who meets up with her in a few places.  At one stage she has to have a native Australian guide (Roly Mintuma) to take her through sacred places.

Review

As you might expect Robyn Davidson is very much a reserved, resourceful loner, and in the 70s these qualities in a woman were bound to arouse the control-freakery of the patriarchal male.  Smolan shows the sort of eagerness to appropriate (sexually and professionally) that which Bryan Brown showed to Diane Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist.  Women simply didn’t go off into the desert alone (or spend quality time with gorillas), so one can see Smolen feel a sort of jealousy towards Davidson’s desire for self-sufficiency and resourcefulness.  As a drifting Alpha male in a poor country, he must of course have a glamorous job so naturally he is a photographer. Tracks takes us through Davidson learning how to control camels.  This appears to be a difficult art that members of the Stuart and Willis 1861 expedition never properly mastered.  Bruce Chatwin in his book Song Lines discusses nomadism as a defining characteristic of being human, and one can see that the journey is a sort of metaphor of Davidson’s search for self mastery.  She is terse and difficult.  One can see what inspired Christopher Nolan in his paintings of the Outback.  The landscape is framed in dawn dusk chiaroscuros, etching around the emerging golds, deepening to ochre.  Her meetings with people are cursory, marked by nearly uninterrupted silence.  She doesn’t show much conversational mileage with camels.  Tourists are, as always, shown to be foolish and intrusive; there to accentuate her precious isolation.  Impressive.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Film Reviews

 

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