There are two really cool things that happen as one grows older. You no longer have the desire to cave into”the disease to please” and you look back on the past with with either fondness or regret.
Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a retired orchestra conductor on holiday with his daughter/assistant Lena (Rachel Weisz) and his best friend – famed director Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) in the Alps. All three characters are at a crossroads in their careers and in life.
Ballinger has been invited by the Queen to perform for Prince Phillip’s birthday, Boyle is shooting what he is almost certain to be his last great cinematic masterpiece and Lena is recovering from the blow of her husband leaving for a young, flexible pop star.
I never would’ve thought Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel would make great buddy movie partners. Needless to say, I was massively wrong. Not only are they right, but I couldn’t imagine anyone else in these roles.
Michael Caine has become a master at playing characters who appear to be transparent, but somehow Caine manages to layer them with such complexity that one is fascinated to see just how the character ends up. Yet, both Caine and Keitel are exemplary at infusing humor into whatever characters they inhabit…making them even more fun to watch.
Rachel Weisz is no slouch! This doll is holding her own with these legends. She says more with a look or a glance than any dialogue could ever match. The scene where she quietly listens in the background while her Dad explains for the hundredth time why he is not able to conduct is priceless. I just adore her and wish we could see her onscreen more often.
However, it is the appearance of Academy Award winner Jane Fonda that literally steals the show. Already having won a Best Supporting Actress award from the Hollywood Film Festival, her 10 minute cameo literally is holding no prisoners with her ball-busting monologue. I suspect we will see all of these actors names floating around this awards season.
“Youth” was released on December 4th after a very successful run at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year