“Youth” is one of those movies where, after watching, I am at odds with how I feel about it. Technically, it’s masterful. Paolo Sorrentino has crafted a film that is a joy to look at: perfectly photographed, and each frame is postcard ready. It’s stylized, both visually and cinematically. You can feel Sorrentino’s heavy hand in everything – I bet he micro-managed every aspect of it – from the set decoration to the music by Paloma Faith and Sumi Jo. And he gets magnificent performances from his actors: Michael Caine is his wonderful self, and here, the more subtle Harvey Keitel is just as terrific. And Jane Fonda gives its last eighth a big kick – I hope her short stint here gets recognized, as it is unforgettable. So obviously, there are a lot of nice things to say about this movie.
But, I a strangely unmoved. I felt it cold and I couldn’t relate or empathize with any of the characters, and there isn’t really a story arc for any of them to engage the audience. Towards the end, I found myself asking the whole point of it all : is it to glorify youth, to sentimentalize life lived, to go over past successes and regrets? I wish Sorrentino was clearer about it, or maybe I was just too dense to notice amidst all the distractions (the glorious scenery, the discordant music) The movie is self-indulgent, but not too much to be honest, so there’s enough room for interpretation. I just wish it touched me more. Perhaps it warrants a second viewing. I wish I had the time.