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Feeling Artsy? Youth Without Youth

Published December 13, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Sony Pictures Classics.
Youth Without Youth Poster Youth Without Youth
I could not even begin to tell you what Youth Without Youth is about. I know it's my job to, but I can't. It's one of those art films you have to watch sometimes and you can't believe somebody actually made it. It clearly means something to them, but it only seems to exist in their own head.

Review: Youth Without Youth


Dominic (Tim Roth) gets struck by lightning as an old man. He not only makes a full recovery from his injuries, but becomes young again. He also has super powers. He starts translating Sanskrit and meets a girl who slips into tongues. They fall in love but it makes her grow old. Whatever.

It's not weird in a beautiful, abstract way. It's just confusing in an attempt to be mysterious. Mirror images speak to Dominic and sometimes there are just three of him in a scene. He muses philosophical but it doesn’t make any sense. If I Heart Huckabees can make sense, there's nothing to be gained from being confusing.

My mind wandered a lot as the plot went in different directions. Was the mythology boring, or just the telling? I imagine a little of both. Dominic's powers of absorbing books are hardly the stuff of Heroes, but his life isn't at all relatable anyway. What do we care if some old translator got young and tries to go about his work?



The second half of the film is about something totally different than the first half, but then it's unclear from scene to scene. They say that Bergman films are wonderful if you take the time to interpret all the meanings, but I never got anything out of them either.

But hey, bravo to Francis Ford Coppola for trying something. He wanted to do this so he got it done. He doesn't need to make marketable fluff (though he has) or the next great masterpiece. Good on him, but the rest of us can just let this exist somewhere else.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Sony Pictures Classics.
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