Youth is a captivating an gorgeous looking film with a dreamlike sense of wonder and an aged depiction of life. The story of Fred Balanger (Michael Caine), an aging composer coping with retirement with his daughter (Rachel Weisz) and filmmaker best friend (Harvey Keitel), explores themes of mortality, life relevance, and peace in a visually stunning internal voyage. While the eccentricities of director Paulo Sorrentino’s vision are distracting in many senses, and the film definitely intends to be jarring and shocking at points, but the film is successful in its intentions to convey the hardships and pleasures of life.
The performances are also excellent. Michael Caine delivers a towering, powerful performance with subtle emotions and strength in how little he emotes. Harvey Keitel is additionally strong, giving perhaps the most complete character arc, and Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano give relevant and interesting supporting roles. Youth is a great exploit in style, and while it feels like the sum of many different and occasionally conflicting points, it’s a worthy product of its shimmering style and excellent performances. Grade: B