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Youth (2015 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaolo Sorrentino
Written byPaolo Sorrentino
Produced by
  • Nicola Giuliano
  • Francesca Cima
  • Carlotta Calori
CinematographyLuca Bigazzi
Edited byCristiano Travaglioli
Music by
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 4 December 2015 (2015-12-04) (United States)
  • 29 January 2016 (2016-01-29) (United Kingdom)
Running time
124 minutes[2]
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Switzerland
Box office$24 million[4]

Youth is a 2015 comedy-drama film written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino. It is the director's second English-language film, and stars Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel as best friends who reflect on their lives while holidaying in the Swiss Alps. It is a story of the eternal struggle between age and youth, the past and the future, life and death, commitment and betrayal. The cast also includes Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, and Jane Fonda.

The film premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or and had a positive critical response. At the 28th European Film Awards, Youth won Best Film, Best Director for Sorrentino, and Best Actor for Caine. It received one Academy Award nomination: Best Original Song, for David Lang's composition of "Simple Song #3". At the Golden Globe Awards, Lang was also nominated along with Jane Fonda for Best Supporting Actress.



Septuagenarian best friends Fred Ballinger and Mick Boyle are on vacation in the Swiss Alps, staying at a luxury spa/resort in Wiesen. Fred is a retired composer of classical music; at the hotel, he is approached by an emissary for Queen Elizabeth II, conferring a knighthood and asking him to perform his popular piece "Simple Song #3" at Prince Philip's birthday concert. Fred turns down the offer, claiming he is not interested in performing any more – although he still composes pieces in his head when alone. Mick is a film director, and is working with a group of writers to develop the screenplay for his latest film, which he calls his "testament". Also with them is actor Jimmy Tree, who is researching for an upcoming role and frustrated that he is only remembered for his role as a robot. The hotel is inhabited by other quirky individuals, including a young masseuse, an overweight Diego Maradona, and Miss Universe.

Fred and Mick reflect on their lives, admitting that their memories are fading and that they see little in their futures. Fred's daughter and assistant, Lena, is married to Mick's son, but the latter leaves her for pop star Paloma Faith. Lena stays at the resort and vents her anger at her father, who was always distant as she grew up. The emissary returns, and Lena cries as Fred explains that he won't perform "Simple Song #3" because the soprano part belongs only to his wife and she can no longer sing.

Mick completes his screenplay and is satisfied with it. The main role is written for aging diva Brenda Morel, who has starred in eleven of his previous films. Brenda surprises Mick by arriving at the resort, and telling him that she is taking a television role instead; cinema is the past, she says, and Mick hasn't made a good film in years. Disheartened, Mick commits suicide by jumping off a balcony in front of Fred. Fred decides to visit his wife for the first time in years. She is senile, and living at a care home in Venice. He then returns to the UK to conduct "Simple Song #3" in front of the Queen and Prince.

Interspersed throughout the film are surreal sequences, including a levitating monk, an imagined Paloma Faith music video, Jimmy dressed as Adolf Hitler, Fred conducting a field of cowbells, and Mick envisioning all his previous leading ladies on a mountaintop (including Brenda, in her new unglamorous TV role).




Director and stars at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Youth is Sorrentino's second English-language film and the follow-up to his Academy Award-winning film The Great Beauty (2013).[5] Principal photography began in Flims, Switzerland in May 2014.[5][6] The primary location was the Waldhaus Flims, a 5-star hotel built in the nineteenth century, where the cast and crew all stayed while filming.[7] Other scenes were filmed in Davos, Switzerland, particularly in the Hotel Schatzalp (the location of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain). Some filming was also done in Rome[8] and Venice.

Sorrentino's regular cinematographer Luca Bigazzi returned to photograph the film.[9] David Lang contributed in composing the film's music, including the piece "Simple Song #3" that is fictionally performed for Queen Elizabeth at the end. The scene was shot with soprano Sumi Jo, violinist Viktoria Mullova, the BBC Concert Orchestra, and the Berlin Radio Choir.[10][11]

Michael Caine was coached for the role as conductor by the Italian composer and conductor Dimitri Scarlato.[12]



Youth premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or,[13][14] and was simultaneously released in Italy. The film was also selected for the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.[15]Fox Searchlight[16] distributed the film in the United States on 4 December 2015 in a limited release.[17] It was released in the United Kingdom on 29 January 2016, by StudioCanal.[18] By the end of its box office run, Youth had earned $24,035,045 worldwide.[4]

Critical reception


Youth received positive reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 72% approval rating based on 212 reviews, with an average of 7 out of 10. The site's consensus reads, "Gorgeously filmed and beautifully acted, Youth offers an enticing – albeit flawed – opportunity to witness an impressive array of seasoned veterans combining their cinematic might."[19] On Metacritic, the film has received a weighted average score of 64 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20]

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Youth is a film that goes its own way. Quixotic, idiosyncratic, effortlessly moving, it's as much a cinematic essay as anything else, a meditation on the wonders and complications of life, an examination of what lasts, of what matters to people no matter their age."[21] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a voluptuary's feast, a full-body immersion in the sensory pleasures of the cinema", and praised Caine and Keitel's performances.[22] Jay Weissberg of Variety described it as Sorrentino's "most tender film to date, an emotionally rich contemplation of life's wisdom gained, lost, and remembered".[23] In more mixed reviews, Robbie Collin of The Telegraph described the film as "gorgeous but chilly" and said it "never grasps its central theme",[24] while Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said it "has a wan eloquence and elegance, though freighted with sentimentality and a strangely unearned and uninteresting macho-geriatric regret for lost time."[9]

Home media


Youth was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on 1 March 2016.[25]



The soundtrack for Youth was released by Milan Records in December 2015. Among various songs the soundtrack also includes the opening track of the film "You Got The Love" performed by The Retrosettes, "Simple Song #3" composed by David Lang, as well as "Just (After Song of Songs)," also composed by David Lang.[26][27]


Award Category Recipient Result Ref(s)
88th Academy Awards Best Original Song David Lang Nominated [28]
2015 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards Best Film Music or Score David Lang Nominated
2015 Cannes Film Festival Palme D'Or Paolo Sorrentino Nominated [29]
2015 Costume Designers Guild Awards Excellence in Contemporary Film Carlo Poggioli Nominated
41st César Awards Best Foreign Film Paolo Sorrentino Nominated [30]
21st Critics' Choice Awards Best Original Song David Lang Nominated [31]
2015 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Best Film Paolo Sorrentino Nominated [32]
Best Director Paolo Sorrentino Nominated
Best Actor Michael Caine Won
28th European Film Awards Best Film Paolo Sorrentino Won [33]
Best Director Paolo Sorrentino Won
Best Screenwriter Paolo Sorrentino Nominated
Best Actor Michael Caine Won
Best Actress Rachel Weisz Nominated
2015 Florida Film Critics Circle Awards Best Cinematography Luca Bigazzi Nominated
73rd Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song David Lang Nominated [34]
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Jane Fonda Nominated
2015 Hawaii Film Festival EuroCinema Hawai'i Award Paolo Sorrentino Nominated
2015 Hollywood Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Jane Fonda Won [35]
2015 Houston Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Song David Lang Nominated
2015 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Audience Award Paolo Sorrentino Won [36]
2015 London Film Critics Circle Awards Best British/Irish Actor Michael Caine Nominated [37]
2015 Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Contemporary Makeup - Feature Motion Picture Maurizio Silvi, Matteo Silvi Nominated
2015 Nastro d'Argento Awards Best Director Paolo Sorrentino Won
Best Producer Nicola Giuliano, Francesca Cima, Carlotta Calori Nominated
Best Script Paolo Sorrentino Nominated
Best Cinematography Luca Bigazzi Won
Best Editing Cristiano Travaglioli Won
Best Production Design Ludovica Ferrario Nominated
Best Costume Design Carlo Poggioli Nominated
Best Casting Director Anna Maria Sambucco Nominated
2015 Ostend Film Festival Look Prize Paolo Sorrentino Nominated [38]
20th Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress Jane Fonda Nominated [39]


  1. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (19 May 2014). "Paolo Sorrentino's Youth sold to UK, Germany, Spain". Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  2. ^ "YOUTH (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  3. ^ "La Giovinezza (Youth) (2015)". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Youth (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b Child, Ben (13 May 2014). "Sorrentino's The Early Years stars Michael Caine as conductor compelled to perform for the Queen". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  6. ^ Lyman, Eric (5 May 2014). "Paulo Sorrentino's 'The Early Years' Begins Shooting, Storyline Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  7. ^ "The Yin and Yang of it All". Jane Fonda. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Paolo Sorrentino and Rome". JaneFonda.com. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  9. ^ a b Bradshaw, Peter (20 May 2015). "Youth review - age cannot wither Michael Caine, but Sorrentino could try harder". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  10. ^ Roddy, Michael (20 May 2015). ""Candy-wrapper music" hits sweet spot in Cannes Youth movie". Reuters. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  11. ^ "David Lang". Red Poppy Music. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Youth IMDb Page". IMDb.
  13. ^ "2015 Official Selection". Cannes. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Screenings Guide". Festival de Cannes. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Toronto to open with 'Demolition'; world premieres for 'Trumbo', 'The Program'". ScreenDaily. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Fox Searchlight Closes Deal For Paolo Sorrentino's 'Youth' – Cannes Update". Deadline.com. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  17. ^ Derschowitz, Jessica (26 August 2015). "Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel pal around in the Swiss Alps in the trailer for Youth". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Youth". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Youth (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Youth Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  21. ^ Turan, Kenneth (3 December 2015). "In 'Youth,' life is a boisterous, wide-ranging musical composition". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  22. ^ McCarthy, Todd (20 May 2015). "Youth: Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  23. ^ Weissberg, Jay (20 May 2015). "Youth Review". Variety. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  24. ^ Collin, Robbie. "Youth review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  25. ^ "Youth DVD and Blu-ray". releases.com. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  26. ^ "'You've Got The Love' Live performance by The Retrosettes". YouTube.
  27. ^ Donadio, Rachel (30 November 2015). "For Paolo Sorrentino's 'Youth,' David Lang Strives for an Unusually Emotional Melody". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  28. ^ Newman, Melinda (14 January 2016). "David Lang on His Best Original Song Oscar Nom: 'I Spilled Coffee All Over Myself'". Billboard. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  29. ^ "Cannes 2015: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' a surprise Palme d'Or winner". Los Angeles Times. 25 May 2015.
  30. ^ "'Golden Years,' 'Marguerite,' 'Dheepan,' 'Mustang' Lead Cesar Nominations". Variety. 27 January 2016.
  31. ^ "Critics' Choice Award Nominations Led by 'Mad Max,' 'Fargo'". Variety. 14 December 2015.
  32. ^ "The 2015 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards". Detroit Film Critics Society.
  33. ^ "'Youth' Takes Top Prizes at European Film Awards 2015: Complete Winners List". Variety. 12 December 2015.
  34. ^ "Golden Globes 2016: Complete list of nominees". Los Angeles Times. 11 January 2016.
  35. ^ "2015 Hollywood Film Awards winners". CBS News. 2 November 2015.
  36. ^ "U.S. Independent Movie 'Bob and the Trees' Wins Top Award at Karlovy Vary Film Festival". Variety. 11 July 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  37. ^ "'Carol,' '45 Years' and Tom Hardy Lead London Critics' Nominations". Variety. 15 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  38. ^ "Youth". Festival Oostende. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  39. ^ "Current Nominees". International Press Academy.