Youth Without Youth Francis Ford Coppola

Youth Without Youth Francis Ford Coppola
For his first film as a director since 1997’s The Rainmaker, Francis Ford Coppola has channeled his frustration with the studio system into this small, independent-style production - small crew and small budget, but big ideas about the nature of love, of human existence and time travel. In tone, it aspires to be a more accessible version of Aronofsky’s The Fountain, but the end result more closely resembles a time-travelling cheese-fest like Kate and Leopold, or worse yet, The Lake House. In Europe in the 1930s, we meet Dominic (Tim Roth), who’s dying of old age and has given in to the fact that he’s at the end of his journey. When he’s struck by lightning, he awakens in a hospital in the body of a man in his late 30s; from there, he rekindles old loves in new forms, contemplates his newfound capacity for languages, and muses on the nature of eternal love. But even while it’s dressed in the look and feel of the art house, one waits for these developments to meld with more high-minded ideas (a la The Fountain), or even to startle and confuse with amazing (if incomprehensible) science. Instead, we merely get soft-lit, production designed love-conquers-all plot that by the end doesn’t live up to the film’s high pretensions. The execution isn’t terrible - Roth does a fine job, the film is often lovely to look at, and Romanian actress Alexandra Maria Lara plays a fine romantic foil, but in adapting the novella by Mircea Eliade, Coppola (who adapted the story) undercuts thematic complexity for more straightforward storytelling, to the detriment of the film’s ambitious scope. Not a terrible effort by any means, but not one that lives up to the legendary director’s resume. (American Zoetrope/Mongrel Media)