Is the fact that I immensely liked ‘Youth’ a sign that I am getting old? I can tell you (and I will tell you) a few good reasons ‘Youth’ is not a masterpiece, and yet, I resonated and was really moved at several moments while watching this film.

Take for example the scene when the emissary of Her Majesty comes for a second time to invite retired composer and conductor Fred Ballinger () to perform at the anniversary of Prince Phillip a famous composition of his called ‘Simple Songs’ (‘it’s the only music he likes’). The daughter of the musician, Lena () is present and the camera moves so that she turns from background to close-up. We will understand the scene by her emotions. The old musician has refused firmly the invitation ‘for personal reasons’. The emissary royally insists and asks details about the reasons. The daughter understands, she is on the verge of breaking into tears. The old man answers ‘my wife was the only one who was performing it perfectly and she cannot do it any longer’. Close up on the daughter crying. One of the most beautiful declarations of love that I have seen on screens for many years.





The location of the story is a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, a place of relaxation and recovery for the ultra-riches of the world. Some of the scenes that describe the daily life of the place look like a tourism promo, but there is enough irony to balance the super-aesthetic view. In the mid of the hinted celebrities, in between a cinema star that can be a Matt Daemon or a Leonardo DiCaprio refueling and a Maradona at the pick of his overweight decline, we meet the two old friends – the musician and film director who tries to find an ending to his ‘testament movie’ together with a team of yuppies script-writers. The two share memories – remembered and forgotten – as well as an attitude that tries to cope with their own personal decay. Is this a symbol of a broader decay, the one of the society they come from, the falling in oblivion of a way of life, but also of a way of making art and relating to art? This is one of the possible messages that I read in this film.


(video source Movieclips Trailers)


The acting of the two old masters – Caine and Keitel is superb. makes one apparition that is worth waiting for. There are a lot of funny moments in this film, there is melodrama, and real drama. A feeling of melancholy envelops all the story, the same type of melancholy that I sensed in The Great Beauty (which I liked less) and to some extent in This Must Be the Place which was one of the most original Holocaust stories that I have seen. Overall, ‘Youth’ confirms the huge talent of in making films with emotional stories and characters that are both special and sometimes eccentric, but also deeply human.