A movie called Youth stars two men who are 82 and 76. Funny, huh?
Of course, the story is filled with reminiscences of their younger days, plus encounters with several youthful individuals.
The setting is a resort in the Alps, sort of a Grand Tyrolean Hotel with similarities to The Grand Budapest Hotel from last year’s Wes Anderson film. It is a spot for the rich and famous from all over the world to escape, enjoy quiet days and nightly entertainment and, maybe, become healthier.
Youth is not as madcap as GBH but it has a its own goofy moments and characters.
Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a retired conductor and composer. Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel, who also appeared in Grand Budapest Hotel) is a film director and screenwriter. They are old friends who are sharing a suite at the hotel.
Fred’s daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) is being dumped by her husband, who is Mick’s son. She stays at the resort and begins a flirtation with a mountain climber.
Among the story lines is an effort by the queen to recruit Fred to conduct a command performance in London of a song he composed. Fred repeatedly refuses for personal reasons.
Late in the film an actress who has had a long personal and professional relationship with Mick shows up at the resort. Brenda (Jane Fonda) has big news to deliver. For her brief appearance Fonda received a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress.
Favorite scenes in Youth include Fred sitting on a log while “pretend conducting” cows and their bells, a guest hackysacking a tennis ball and Mick and his co-writers literally putting their heads together as they script his next movie.
Sort of a running joke: Smoking is forbidden throughout the resort but we see guests and staffers frequently lighting up. Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano), an actor who is visiting the resort, smokes shamelessly. By the way, Youth contains a significant bit of gratuitous nudity.
Youth is a lark, not a “must see.” But if you like Michael Caine—and most of us do, don’t we?—you will enjoy sharing his holiday in the mountains with him and the other guests.