Dissecting the Ending: ‘While We’re Young’

“While We’re Young” is a fascinating exploration of the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and what it means to truly “grow up.”  I really loved Noah Baumbach’s previous film, “Frances Ha,” and came into this movie with very high expectations.  For most of the film, “While We’re Young” was exactly what I was looking for.  Aging is a struggle that everyone will face at some point in his or her life, and as a result the situations are extremely relatable and frequently hilarious.  Many broad comparisons are made between Gen Xers and Millennials, and it is fascinating to see Baumbach explore concepts like nostalgia versus ironic enjoyment.  I highly recommend the film to anyone interested in the premise.

All that being said, I had some strong opinions about the final 30 minutes or so of this film.  For me, a film succeeds or fails based largely on its third act.  The climax is the screenwriter or director’s best opportunity to really drive home the ultimate message of his/her movie.  It is what the audience is left with as they walk out of the theater.  The rest of this post is will be talking about the ending in depth, so [spoilers] ahead.