During “New Amsterdam,” the fourth episode of the first season of Mad Men, Roger Sterling says, “Maybe every generation thinks the next one is the end of it all. I bet people in the Bible were walking around complaining about ‘kids today.'” That sentiment is not new, and I think about it all the time. While We’re Young made me think about it yet again and consider writer/director Noah Baumbach’s (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, Greenberg, Frances Ha–I still need to see Frances Ha) take.
I also had to see this for Namoi Watts. The most pleasing aspect of this film for me is that it did not give me exactly what I wanted. I like that because the world does not revolve around me. While I have strong opinions about the direction in which the world is going and the generational issues which create a large number of young people who are void of the communication skills required to succeed, there are varieties of methods to deal with this impending doom. I should listen to other approaches.
But there are so many elements and commentaries that had me yelling (in my mind–or maybe I said it under my breath a few times), “Right on!” in the Meryl Streep-at-the-Oscars sort of way. The final scene communicates that, despite changes that we should embrace, there are those that we should not accept—not if we want any sort of positive human future for those who must “take over and run the world” (I have that scene in A Raisin in the Sun on my brain). Again, communication—the human variety—comes into play because it is, to me, the foundation. The film showed me that it is possible to compromise, but it is also necessary that I not let the impending doom I feel stop me from continuing to work toward my own growth and success. The desire to do so could easily fall away while I ruminate on how everything is going “downhill.” And I still want to write a book called I Am Not A Millennial: Stories from a “Young” Teacher. Just–please–don’t call me a millennial.