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Noah Baumbach took a bold step in writing and directing WHILE WE’RE YOUNG. He decided not to take sides when telling this tale of youthful impatience and adult complacence meeting head-on, instead opting for the far more interesting neutral perspective that allows the audience to relish the quirks of both generations while never stooping to pat answers to questions that evade easy resolution. Or any resolution at all. The result is a film that is erudite, droll, and genuinely surprising. When I spoke to Baumbach on March 30, 2015, that was one of the first things I asked him about, before moving on to the moment he crossed the threshold into being a grown-up, the truth in telling lies, and the glories of black-and-white cinematography.
WHILE WE’RE YOUNG, a sly look at the intersection of art, commerce, ethics, and ceding one’s place to the next generation. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts play Josh and Cornelia Srebnick, a childless 40-something couple living life as artists in New York City, and falling into that bane of the artistic class: a rut. He’s been working on the same documentary for a decade or so without being able to refine his edit into something viable, and she’s been working as a producer for her acclaimed documentarian father for all of her professional life. Into their life tumbles Jaime, a fledgling filmmaker, and Darby, a concocter of artisan ice creams. They’re 20-something couple for whom the world is an adventure of new experiences and retro trappings who give older couple a second chance at the exhilaration of youth, while also becoming mentors to the younger couple, and discovering that they might just be grown-ups. In the process they encounter the Egyptian god Apop, discover the terrors of baby culture, and try to make life without a search engine work. The film co-stars Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Horowitz, Maria Dizzia, and Charles Grodin. Baumbach directed from his own script. His previous work includes SCREAMING AND KICKING, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, GREENBURG, and FRANCES HA, and collaborations with Wes Anderson with THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX and THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU.