Michael Caine is a retired composer staying in a fancy Austrian resort with his friend and famous director working on his new film Harvey Keitel, and his daughter Rachel Weisz. His is invited to perform his famous simple songs to the queen, but is uneasy about this task.
The way I pitched Youth to a friend was “like The Lobster but less terrifying” and I think it sticks fairly accurately to this in tone. Of course it does not share the dystopian sci-fi element of The Lobster, but it has a similar tragi-comedy vein and aesthetically I think they make good companion pieces.
Michael Caine refuses yet again to let his age stop him from putting in an incredible and moving performance, we’ve seen him do this in Interstellar recently but the difference this time is that now he is in the leading role. He is wonderful here, and I think the best thing I can say about it is that I forgot that it was Michael Caine. I was just watching the character, and actually the whole film has this very relaxing and gentle air. You just relax into it and let the film take you on its journey. It is fairly surreal and not a film that provokes many out and out laughs but it is funny.
There are a few problems with Youth. I think the whole miss universe section of the story is kind of unnecessary and in general it just doesn’t have the depth that something like The Lobster did. The biggest issue is Paloma Faith who stars as herself in one of the strangest movie decisions in living memory. But I did really enjoy Youth and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quietly weird and beautifully sound tracked piece of work.