By Mandela Wells
While Michael Caine is among one of the more talented working actors in Hollywood, he has not been as active as he once was. However, in the instances in which he appeared on screen, he has been sure to deliver- whether it be in a starring role or as a supporting character.
In Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth,” Caine once again provides the audience with an impressive showing of acting prowess that is coupled with his humility and gratitude for old age. In the film, he is joined by other seasoned actors as well as their younger counterparts in a film that deals with the past, present and future.
The movie follows the story of Fred (Michael Caine), a retired composer and conductor, as he vacations with longtime buddy and filmmaker, Mick (Harvey Keitel). An emissary of Queen Elizabeth II begins to hound Fred to play his “Simple Songs,” but the protagonist refuses for a very personal reason as he balances the complicated relationship he shares with his daughter. Mick, on the other hand, is attempting to write his final screenplay, but comes to a serious realization after a visit from one of his longtime friends.
Overall, Caine presented a character to the audience that was equal parts humorous, intriguing and complex, allowing viewers to follow along on his journey as he reflects on his youth. Providing a cathartic release for older viewers especially, Fred is a man in a beautiful place looking back fondly on his life- recalling both the good and the bad.
Paul Dano also had an impressive performance; keeping pace with his cast mates, and Harvey Keitel delivered one of his most graceful performances to date. The film’s women also shined, as Rachel Weisz delivered a heart wrenching performance and Jane Fonda proved that she’s still got it, even after all her years away from the silver screen.
On a technical level, the Script for this film is masterfully written, and is coupled with brilliant lighting design that makes the film an artistic success. Visually, the cinematography was impeccable and highlights the beauty of the Alps, the magnitude of which is matched only by the beauty of the film’s score.
The film finishes as beautifully as it started, with classical music scoring the ending scene and allowing the piece to come full circle. In a world where the youth deserve more credit than they are given and the old is forgotten just as easily, I personally hope the film is not forgotten come time for the Oscars.
Image by Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_%282015_film%29)