Youth is a sumptuous lobster dinner of a film. You drink it in with your eyes before you really understand what you're taking in. Only afterwards, when you're walking out of the cinema does the full emotional impact of the film hit you.
The story is simple. Fred Bellinger (Caine) a retired composer and conductor is on holiday with his screenwriter best friend (Harvey Keitel) and his daughter (Rachel Weisz) when he receives a request from the Queen to perform at Prince Phillip's birthday celebrations.What follows is a gentle investigation into all of the character's pasts, presents and futures.
As the movie progresses, a sea of minor characters give Caine and Keitel a backdrop to bounce against. Paul Dano's movie start, who appears to have done his seminal work being the most notable. Jane Fonda's cameo also steals the movie. These characters give a tableau feel to the film.
Sounds a bit vague. It is. There is a bit of Peter Greenaway in Paul Sorrentino's direction. Set in the Swiss Alps the setting is exquisite. This could be Michael Caine's swan song - another theme taken on in the film. The magic of the film is that works on an emotional level for the most part. Making this happen is the soundtrack, which is as eclectic as it is bizarre. All sorts of genres are covered over this film primarily about a musician.
What I loved most about this film is that it never told you what to think or feel, it just placed the story in front of your to make up your own mind. Lavish, expansive and quirky, it's worth hunting out.
It's on limited release around Australia at present - go to the cinemas not playing Star Wars.