While We’re Young. Hip To Be Square.

OnlineQuad_WhileWereYoungAhh, The Hipster.  Native resident of grittily urban areas undergoing economic regeneration, mostly found congregating in great numbers around vinyl disc emporiums. Skinny of leg with exuberant plumage on chin.  May be omnivorous or vegetarian but will only consume produce labelled ‘organic’ and/or ‘artisan’, preferably grown in lay-by off M25. Now marvellously satirised in Noah Baumbach’s tremendous While We’re Young.

Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a childless 40-something couple with increasingly little in common with their friends who all have kids. Josh, a documentary filmmaker, finds himself waylaid after a class one day by effortlessly cool young couple Jamie (Adam Driver), a wannabe filmmaker, and his wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried), who are keen to chat.

Flattered by the attention and energised by their enthusiasm, Josh is soon arranging subsequent meet ups with Adam. Then buys a pork pie hat, like Adam. Then ditches public transport to wobble unsteadily down the road on a bike, after Adam. Initially sceptical, Cornelia too soon becomes sucked in, persuaded to join Darby in a Hip Hop dance class (note to aging self: few things are less dignified than a 40-something ‘busting a move’).

Inevitably, their new found BFFs start attracting scepticism from peers of their own age. And after a while, Josh and Cornelia themselves start to question whether there may be ulterior motives behind Jamie and Darby’s attentions. But not before a marvellous succession of events that gently and hilariously mock the narcissistic, self-conscious world of The Hipster and raise questions about what people really want out of life.

The Sloth was lucky enough to attend a preview screening introduced by director Noah Baumbach, in which he described his own awareness of getting older, of recalling something that had ‘just happened’ only to realise it was years before, and wanting to make a film that captured both this and thoughts about relationships he had gathered over time. While We’re Young achieves all this brilliantly. Both timely and timeless, every laugh is spiked with the prick of truth. It feels like an instant classic – don’t miss it.

UK release 3 April 2015

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Frances Ha. Made In Hipster Heaven.

francesTake the Queen of Indie Actresses, pair with the King Of Indie Directors, set it in NYC hipsterville and shoot it in black and white. The result should be so obnoxiously up its own bottom it could extract its own piles. In fact, Frances Ha is sweet, whimsical and rather enjoyable.

Indie Queen Greta Gerwig is Frances. She’s an apprentice dancer with a modern ballet company, except she’s a bit rubbish and relegated to the back of the stage. She skips and pirouettes carefree across NYC traffic crossings even though she’s got no money. She’s splitting up from her boyfriend as she’d rather spend time with her best mate. Her friends are sculptors, musicians, publishers who live in apartments with exposed bricks and walls of vinyl, eating bagels and discussing their sex lives in eye-wateringly explicit detail. All NYC Bohemian credentials present and correct. Normally, The Sloth would have gouged our own eyes out by now. But the longer it went on, the fonder we grew of Frances.

What makes this work is that Frances’ life isn’t perfect. Her mates think she’s a bit of a state and refusing to grow up. She knows underneath she’s a bit of a state and refusing to grow up. There are instances of acute embarrassment and disappointment –finding out her supposed Best Mate’s priorities now lie roundly elsewhere; watching her burble nervous nonsense at a cerebral dinner party; being reduced to working as a waitress at the dance academy she graduated from.

It’s endearing and has moments of cringe-worthy honesty. If you want to impress your other half that you’re in tune with Feminine Angst, give it a go. Perhaps Hipsters aren’t so bad after all.

UK release 26 July

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