Writer and Director Noah Baumbach has always had an eye for conveying the ordinary and making it interesting. Most comparable from his filmography in this instance would be the excellent The Squid & The Whale, in which he tackles the impact of divorce of a family. Only in this film he looks at people divorcing their original personality and interests, in the form of a joint mid-life crisis as a result of not confronting issues within a relationship head on.
While We’re Young focuses on Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) as one of those married couples blissfully unaware of the routine uniformity of their life in New York. As their other friends start having kids, they begin to feel out-of-place among their own age group, unable to move into the next stage of their lives due to various complications. Josh and Cornelia meet a young hipster couple in Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), both with either similar interests or at least more interesting lives than what they have currently, and their world begins to change drastically.
In typical Baumbach style it teeters between comedy and drama, showcasing a great array of acting capabilities from those involved, and appears with the standard clean-cut indie aesthetic. The script is sharp, but the content winds up being a lot of the same, the jokes are often repeated, and ultimately wears itself a little thin. Perhaps the repetition was a factor he was going for, after all, a lot of life is repetition.
I could see pieces of myself and others around me in it, it’s easy to slip into a cycle and it’s even easier to want to be more spontaneous and exciting. It cleverly holds a mirror up to so many relationships out there, with the essential underlying story of the film being a repackaging and exploration of the old adage that the grass is always greener on the other side, and asking, “Is it?”.