Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 29
  2. Negative: 6 out of 29
  1. 75
    This film's playful visual language pulls you in rather than shuts you out; it isn't difficult to decipher, and it enables Coppola and his editor, Walter Murch, to navigate the story's many realms with a directness and dexterity that are refreshing.
  2. Half the time in the mystical saga Youth Without Youth, I had no idea what the movie was about, but I always felt that the director and screenwriter, Francis Ford Coppola, did, and that he was deeply in tune--and having a hell of a time--with the material.
  3. 70
    For all its fussy lighting, upside-down camera angles, and overwrought impressionism, Youth Without Youth is essentially playful. It's also pleasantly meandering in its largely faked locations, and drolly matter-of-fact about its mystic visions.
  4. In this film Mr. Coppola blurs dreams and everyday life and suggests that through visual and narrative experimentation he has begun the search for new ways of making meaning, new holy places for him and for us. He may not have found them yet, but, then, he’s just waking up.
  5. 67
    Tt is a comeback, and if it leads the director to better work, it can be forgiven as a warm-up.
  6. How's this for a ringing endorsement: Watching Youth Without Youth, Francis Ford Coppola's first film in nearly a decade, is like taking a philosophy exam. A really tiring philosophy exam, where the questions are elegantly phrased but damn confounding and not really conducive to right answers.
  7. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    As a fan and well-wisher of Coppola's, I wanted very much to like this movie, and I'll probably give it another shot once the DVD comes out. But, at first sight, Youth Without Youth's striving for exuberance reveals an almost desperate effort too much of the time.
  8. Too much of the film is a muddle, and it feels like work, not play.
  9. Ultimately, Youth Without Youth is more intriguing than it is satisfying. It hooks you, then lets you flounder.
  10. 58
    In the context of Coppola's life and career, the film has a searching intelligence and ambition that can't be entirely dismissed; with his own money and nobody looking over his shoulder, Coppola has gone uprriver again in an effort to reinvent himself and cinema in the process. He ultimately fails, but he can't be faulted for trying.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    An ambitious but mind-numbingly tedious and often incomprehensible film.
  12. 50
    I understood two words of Youth Without Youth: "The End."
  13. Lush and heartfelt, but compelling only in fits and starts.
  14. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    A vast, lumbering white elephant of a movie--but I sort of love it.
  15. 50
    Coppola's awkward screenplay never finds its tone -- or perhaps it deliberately evokes the pulp conventions of WWII adventures, horror films, weepy melodrama, psychological mysteries and superhero origin stories as a way of evoking the fundamental artificiality of the cinema. Either way, it never comes together into a cohesive whole, and is seriously undermined by Roth's morose performance.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    At its best, the movie's crazy in unexpected and poetic ways; at its worst, merely preposterous.
  17. Unfortunately, "Youth" becomes so lost in its own conceptual, convoluted vortex, it becomes virtually incomprehensible. Coppola proves that even the best of our film artists can lose sight of what this medium is all about: entertaining, enlightening and including its audience.
  18. Lacking coherence and suspense, the picture is likely to attract a cult following while disappointing Coppola's fan base.
  19. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Attempting to harness multiple genres, pic is brought down by ponderous dialogue (much of it dubbed) and an inability to connect with its characters.
  20. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Not quite a complete write-off, but basically a folly.
  21. The essence of Youth Without Youth, which was shot -- luminously -- in Romania, lies in its solemn speculations about aging, time and consciousness. Mr. Coppola is one of the cinema's peerless masters, and I would have enjoyed nothing more than a chance to celebrate his new film. I'm truly sorry to say, then, that I found it impenetrable.
  22. I'm all for bold screwiness, but this provocation seems labored despite the striking images.
  23. Whatever it was in Romanian philosopher Mircea Eliade's novella Youth Without Youth that drew Francis Coppola out of a 10-year retirement to make a movie, the result is the year's most bizarre novelty item.
  24. 38
    The film is a sharp disappointment to those who have been waiting for 10 years since the master's last film. The best that can be hoped is that, having made a film, Coppola has the taste again, and will go on to make many more, nothing like this.
  25. Coppola never manages to get his themes to coalesce into anything terribly coherent.
  26. 25
    Most certainly a personal work -- so personal, in fact, that I can't imagine anyone but Coppola being able to sit through it.
  27. The movie is one soporific, depressed, deadeningly vague scene after another.
  28. 0
    It's merely nutty, a picture that appears to have been made by an individual who has fallen off the edge of reason. Watching it was misery.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 12
  2. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. ZakiyaK
    May 3, 2009
    This is one of the most intriguing movie I have ever experienced. It was so immense and captivating. I was drawn into the storyline and felt This is one of the most intriguing movie I have ever experienced. It was so immense and captivating. I was drawn into the storyline and felt each scene as unfold.. Professor Dominique's character was so immmensed and realistic. I loved this movie so much! Thank you Francis Coppola.> This was a masterpiece creation. Full Review »
  2. ChadS.
    May 17, 2008
    Lightning strikes, and an old man becomes young again. A man who never ages is enough story for one film, but Dominic(Tim Roth), on top of Lightning strikes, and an old man becomes young again. A man who never ages is enough story for one film, but Dominic(Tim Roth), on top of being vampiric, also has conversations with a doppleganger. And then there's his baffling superpower; Dominic has the ability to read books with the wave of a single hand(English majors will read this as an inside joke). If "Youth Without Youth" had a studio mentality, it would be "The Fugitive" with gorgeous cinematography. But then, lightning strikes again, and the film veers into "Altered States" territory. That Dominic would encounter a woman whose lingering byproduct of the electrical jolt, gives him just the right empirical information to finish his life's work, is just too paradigmatic for comfort. Full Review »
  3. Nov 14, 2010
    What is life? Life is a dream that you can sometimes wake up from and then it is not, there is no dream there is nothing but life, how do youWhat is life? Life is a dream that you can sometimes wake up from and then it is not, there is no dream there is nothing but life, how do you define what you are doing or how you are living by simple means? How do you define where you go, what you do, or whom you meet? What is life but a fleeting thing that begins one moment and then ends the next? However, out of death, there is life and out of life, there is death. There are no clear paths in life except for the ones that we make for ourselves, we try to comprehend the dire state of the situation that we are in, but we do not know the real troubles that this life holds for us. So I ask you if you had the chance to live your youth over again to do it all right to make better choices to change the unchangeable to undo the undoable to make your life something more than what it has turned out, would you?

    Francis Ford Coppola's "Youth Without Youth" is a deep, morbid, highly complex, enthralling and mind bending films I have ever seen Coppola has crafted a movie that not only works as a piece of experimental film making but as a piece of expressionism and deep rooted meaning about the true nature of life. How this film plays with the many different emotions is astounding. Throughout the film, there are many questions that Coppola presents for the audience to answer. One of those questions asked is what is there to life and why do us as humans make the choices we do. "Youth without Youth" is an ingenious mix of genres that blends the bleakness of the morals of humanity with the dark and morbid reality of the limitations of life. This film is a fascinating portrayal of how age can be the enemy of our greatest achievements while we may find ourselves loved by millions or have won some prestigious award that makes you famous in time, our accomplishments and the person who achieved them are all but forgotten. In the case of seventy year old, Dominic Matei (Tim Roth) life has seemed to pass him by as a young man he had all the time in the world but now that he has just turned seventy years old it seems like there is no time for anyone or anything. After a lightning bolt strikes the elderly professor, he somehow returned to the days of his youth and given a second chance to rediscover all that time has taken away from him, to rediscover himself, to rediscover love and to finish the work he started so long ago. This film's story and premise so convoluted and disjointed that to try to describe this film would be all but impossible. It is kind of like describing the plot of â
    Full Review »