In our culture of cool, we worship the new, the fresh, and (above all) the young. So balancing the practicalities of aging with what relevance requires can be a real drag.
That’s the dilemma for Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts), the fortysomething couple at the center of Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young. Childless at a time when all of their couple friends are having babies, Josh and Cornelia forge a new friendship with a twentysomething pair of Brooklyn hipster royalty: Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfriend). Though Josh and Cornelia are themselves aging hipsters (Josh is a documentary filmmaker who listens to Wilco, loves Godard, and likes to discuss Ricoeur’s “hermeneutics of suspicion”), they’re clearly hungry for their newfound friends to bring them up to speed on all things cool.
Laughs ensue. The film’s fast-paced first half gives us gag after gag of the older couple trying to keep up with the younger couple’s trendy way of life. Jamie and Darby are the epitome of artisan, small-batch, analog Brooklynites. They raise chickens, build everything by hand, wear thrift store clothes and ride fixed gear bikes (without helmets). Darby has an artisanal ice cream business where she makes flavors like “avocado almond milk sorbet.”
Despite suffering from arthritis and shin splints, Josh and Cornelia join the young couple for hip hop dance classes, syncretistic spiritual retreats, and “street beach” parties in Bushwick. They’re fascinated and energized by the young couple’s apparent passion for life and seemingly authentic disregard for the rat race.
One of the most hilariously accurate sequences shows ...1