The novelisation of Youth (La Giovinezza) - an original film by Paolo Sorrentino, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Rachel Weisz
In a luxury spa hotel in the Swiss Alps, octogenarian friends Fred Ballinger and Mick Boyle look back on their eventful and successful lives as composer and film director, surrounded by a host of colourful and eccentric fellow guests, ranging from a South American football legend to a famous Californian actor and a reigning Miss Universe. Ballinger is there simply to enjoy his retirement, while Boyle is working with five scriptwriters on his last film, which he hopes will be his masterpiece.
However, when Ballinger is invited by Buckingham Palace to conduct his most famous piece at Prince Philip's birthday celebration and accept a knighthood in return, he refuses, citing personal reasons. As for Mick Boyle, he eventually receives a visit from Brenda Morel, his signature actress, who comes all the way from California to give her opinion of this latest film in which she is to star. At the same time as these two men face these challenges in their careers, the marriage of Fred's daughter to Mick's son brings further complications.
Only by reconciling with their muses and memories, as well as coming to terms with old age, can the two men move forward, but for them both the results are not what they - or we - expect.
Nobody else is making such operatic films half so well as Sorrentino: Youth makes nearly all the other contenders for the Palme d'Or this year seem to lack conviction. ***** — David Sexton, Evening Standard