My Review/Recommendation of “Youth Without Youth” – a Francis Ford Coppola & Tim Roth masterpiece
Beautifully filmed, elegant, and one of the most outstanding and extraordinary performances of Tim Roth. Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth is a testament to film’s dramatic ability to provoke thought, emotion, and explore the deepest questions mankind ponders throughout the ages.
A psychological film? Yes, but oh so much more. Philosophical doesn’t even capture it – not as an adjective alone….for the spiritual must be added. The evolving of a human being in a most unusual extraordinary experience.
What is the nature of the soul? The spirit? Does time exist? After death…what? And to what shall we devote our life – pursuit of knowledge to the exclusion or deprivation of the heart or is the question itself loaded with a false assumption?
And what of the middle and older aged of us when it’s oft quoted “If only I could be 25 or 30 again” with the caveat “knowing what I know now.”
Aged Dominic Matei (Tim Roth) is able to experience directly the answers to these questions, as his life takes a turn for the mysterious and what many might call scientifically “impossible” as do the scientist of the day, until they see it for themselves through his unique situation.
Indeed, philosophy and its pursuit, falls short always when the reality of life and its mysteries become paramount due to experience by an individual. Philosophy, for all it’s wealth of concepts is of only the mind, and the mind but a tool, a most useful and wonderful one when used and developed, but still a tool. And like any tool, its purpose is to carry out and be a part of something greater than itself alone. It is this, our now young once more Dominic explores firsthand in his remarkable journey.
I was intrigued the first time I viewed this film several years ago, and now upon viewing it again, I found I related, understood, and grasped far more. There is complexity throughout it, but this repeated viewing brought more depth as I possessed more awareness of what was occurring without any confusion this time around.
Is this due to my now older age than my first viewing (I am 46 now)…or another example of how such a magnificent engaging story necessitates greater time with it, more ability to grasp all its nuances and implications, as this is one packed film. Likely, a combination of the two.
I love the way the viewer experiences, right along with Dominic, his awe, wonder, sadness, and so many other emotions.
One of the most powerful, effective, and superbly performed by Roth, are the scenes depicting his conversations with himself – the aspects of who he is, has been, and…is becoming. (His verbal ability to speak all the languages (some 15 or more?) throughout the film, including one newly created language, is in itself a most impressive feat and example of of his fine acting ability.)
Visually stunning, the cinematography by Mihai Malaimare Jr. (who was 29 when he shot this film) complements perfectly the aesthetic nature of the story.
This is a fine artistic meaningful work, another of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpieces…and another extraordinary performance of Tim Roth….and a must-see for the intelligent thoughtful and seeking soul. It is extraordinary and will stay with you as you ponder it for some time to come…and I bet, you’ll end up watching it again, as I, to have this experience again. (I’ll likely be viewing this one more than the twice I’ve seen it now – it’s one of those which I’m certain provides more and more as I watch it at various times over a span of years.)
Combining Coppola’s direction with Roth’s acting in this amazing story produced a masterpiece of their art for both men. I highly recommend it!
The fine informational website for the film (where both of its theatrical trailers may be viewed by clicking “Media”) – have your speakers activated when vising: