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#TIFF14 Reviews: While We’re Young and My Old Lady

September 7, 2014

By John Corrado

#TIFF14 Poster

There is an interesting serendipity to the fact that my reviews of While We’re Young and My Old Lady have ended up on the same day.  These two films that both premiered this weekend at TIFF couldn’t be more different, but their titles contrast and compliment each other quite nicely.

Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young was actually a pretty late addition to my schedule just this morning, but it’s one that I’m really glad to have seen.  Although I didn’t see as many movies as I would have liked this weekend, this left my schedule wide open to do an interview with the director and cast of We Were Wolves yesterday afternoon, which will hopefully be up soon.

I also had one of my biggest highlights of the festival so far attending the Mavericks Conversation With Reese Witherspoon this evening.  The event started with clips from some of her most famous roles, before the Oscar-winner came on stage to deliver a fascinating and entertaining talk about her career and women in film.  The already huge amount of respect I have for her just kept growing throughout the conversation.

There were also plenty of great little moments of insight.  Like how she based her iconic character in Election on a girl she knew in high school and still can’t stand whenever she runs into her, and how she helped rework the script for Legally Blonde from a more feminist standpoint.  Along with talking about her work as a producer, she also revealed that she might be directing something at the end of the year.  Reese Witherspoon is just as smart, funny and engaging in real life as she is on screen, and now I really can’t wait to see both The Good Lie and Wild later on in the festival.

My schedule is already pretty packed for the rest of the week, so please come back on Tuesday night for another round of capsule reviews, including the extremely anticipated films The Theory of Everything, Whiplash and The Imitation Game.  Enjoy!

While We’re Young: Josh (Ben Stiller) is a struggling documentary filmmaker in his forties who has settled into a quiet life with his wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts).  They are at odds with their friends who all have kids, and struggling to accept that they are now middle aged.  But then they meet aspiring filmmaker Jamie (Adam Driver) and his free spirited wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a hipster couple freewheeling through their twenties, who inspire them to embrace spontaneity.  At first, the four artists find a lot to learn from each other, but their different ideologies ultimately turn their friendship into rivalry, leading up to a fascinating and unpredictable last act.  With a great cast at the top of their game, and a sharply insightful screenplay, While We’re Young is an inspired and very entertaining high concept comedy from director Noah Baumbach.  The film succeeds because there is emotional truth behind the laughs, showing the sizeable disconnect between older and younger sensibilities, and how each generation carves out their own perception of truth and meaning.  I really enjoyed this one.

Saturday, September 6th – 7:00 PM @ Princess of Wales
Sunday, September 7th – 12:30 PM @ Roy Thomson Hall
Thursday, September 11th – 11:30 AM @ Visa Screening Room (Elgin)

My Old Lady: Directed by Israel Horovitz from his own stage play, My Old Lady works mainly as a three person drama.  After his father dies, depressed New Yorker Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) returns to the Paris apartment that was left to him with plans to sell the large property, only to find the place occupied by the feisty elderly woman Mathilde (Maggie Smith), and her bitter daughter (Kristen Scott Thomas).  The film runs a little long at 107 minutes, and some of the framing is a little stagey.  But there is an intriguingly dark undercurrent of long buried pain and depression coursing through the well written script, keeping things interesting and taking the story to some surprisingly deep places.  Topped off with a trio of standout performances from Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas, My Old Lady is worth seeing.

Sunday, September 7th – 5:30 PM @ Winter Garden Theatre
Monday, September 8th – 9:15 AM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1

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