‘We Are Young’: Being Young Sucks, Growing Up Sucks

/ Oct 8, 2013


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Youth can be brutal. When our elders tell us not to squander youth, they’re both right and wrong. On one hand youth grants us the ability to shake off just about any type of damage with relative ease. The young bounce back quickly with little to no recovery time. It’s in part what makes being young great. This idea of invulnerability that is insanely misguided yet entirely believable when you are at that age.

On the other hand (the hand we loathe to think about), that same sense of being impenetrable leaves the young struggling with the concept that nothing is forever. Even when invincible, we feel time slipping away to a place where our hasty choices leave us tired and full of regret. With this comes the pressure to constantly be living life to its fullest. We’re told not to waste our youth so we’ll make damn sure we burn bright before winking out.

“We Are Young” from director, producer, and writer Alex Richanbach is much about that very fear as much as it is about the Los Angeles dating scene. It’s a 90-minute film filled with midnight road trips and impromptu romances. But more than anything, “We Are Young” is a movie about the gauntlet that is trying to savor every moment of your youth.

Hosted free-to-view at Funny or Die before its theatrical debut in one week, “We Are Young” follows two bachelors as they navigate the troubled waters of love in LA. If one had to cage the film into a genre, the best way to describe it would be a romantic comedy. But unlike your typical rom-coms, “We Are Young” directs its lens at the doldrum that is going from date to date, romance to romance. It’s not fun to watch sometimes, but it’s spot on.

Funny or Die would be a strange place for “We Are Young” to exist if it weren’t for two factors, the first being that Richanbach is now a director and writer for the comedy site, and the second having to do with the fact that “We Are Young,” despite its moments of somber truth, is filled with witty, razor-sharp dialogue. Not every moment in this film is a laugh-out-loud — and to be fair that did not seem to be Richanbach’s goal — however, when “We Are Young” means to be funny, it shines.

Ultimately, “We Are Young” is a solid filmmaking effort from a talented writer and director. It echoes of something Noah Baumbach would have done at the start of his career — “The Squid and the Whale,” only much less devastating. It’s an earnest look at a slice of LA life that is ugly, beautiful, and often destructive. “We Are Young” is an ode to youth as much as it is a farewell to it. Sure, being young sucks sometimes, but that’s only when you slow down enough to realize it.

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