Having no history of watching any of director Noah Baumbach’s previous movies I didn’t know what to expect from While We Were Young. Of course I was familiar with the actors that star in this movie and being a fan of Ben Stiller I figured it couldn’t be that bad. It wasn’t, because what Baumbach delivers is really good.

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The story centres around Josh (Stiller), a documentary filmmaker who is in a happy, albeit somewhat boring marriage with Cornelia (Naomi Watts). The couple have been trying for years to conceive a baby and when their close friends get pregnant this leads to the couple questioning where their lives are going, forcing them to start dealing with some internal questions that have been bubbling under the surface for a while.

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Josh is working on a documentary that has occupied him for years when he is asked to give a lecture at a local college. Here he meets young couple Jamie (Adam Driver), an aspiring filmmaker, and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), who makes ice cream. The young lovers are fans of Josh’s work and the two couples end up spending lots of time together.

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Baumbach uses the contrasting dynamic between the two couples and plays around with the generation gap, bringing some clever funny moments from the talented cast. He does stuff like switch up a scenario where the young couple listen to music on vinyls and watch movies on VHS and then has Stiller and Watts being the new generation couple in the movie.

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Josh and Cornelia start to rediscover their youth when hanging out with Jamie and Darby and also lead their new, free-spirited friends with some insight from their own life experiences. The movie mostly plays off this theme of contrasts between the two generations and the comedic relationships the four characters build between each other.

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There isn’t really need for much more as the movie isn’t really that long, with a mere 97 minute running time and Baumbach’s pacing is well-balanced for the movie’s three acts. The script is also really well written, with plenty of witty banter and clever exchanges between the lead actors.

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The acting in this movie is good and all the main performers do a great job. Stiller delivers one of his best performances for me in a long time; even though he uses traces of his very familiar anxious personalities that I feel I have seen in many of his movies before.

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I really enjoyed watching this movie and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good movie with rich characters and a well written and thoughtful story.

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While we’re young is available on DVD now.

Last Updated: December 23, 2015

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