It’s been a very good year at the movies for great actors of a certain age. Lily Tomlin won raves for Grandma, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are an old married couple in the tense 45 Years, and Michael Caine is in the Oscar mix for his performance in Youth.
Perhaps some had assumed that the 82-year-old Caine — with two Oscars already to his name — had finally come to grips with playing sagacious mentors who impart their life’s wisdom and then get out of the way so the real hero can save the day. But Youth, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and opens in theaters on Dec. 4, is very much about today and tomorrow — the future, no matter how old you are.
Caine plays an accomplished musical composer named Fred who’s vacationing in the Swiss Alps with his longtime friend, Mick, a notable film director played by Harvey Keitel. They have a lifetime of shared experiences to reflect upon, and as they both contemplate retirement, there is still the itch of inspiration that needs to be scratched, the itch of vitality, and the hope that tomorrow can still be something special.
Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) wrote the role of Fred with Caine in mind, and in this exclusive featurette, Caine demonstrates that he hasn’t forgotten how it’s done, as his character would say. “It’s [not] about growing old; it’s about having grown old — now where are you?” Caine says in the clip.
Should Caine earn his seventh Oscar nomination for the role, he would become the oldest Best Actor nominee (by more than three years) in history. (Only Emmanuelle Riva was older when she was nominated for Best Actress in 2013.)
Watch the film’s trailer below.