Being Young (2014) – By Philip Smolen

Lars (Helge Alexander Diego Forland) is a young, good looking Norwegian man who is floating through life. He bounces around from brief sexual affairs with nameless women without knowing what he really wants. He smokes, drinks and generally just hangs out. He meets his father (Jan Neal Holden) for coffee and lets him know that he has dropped out of law school. Disappointed, his father asks him what he plans to do with his life. Lars can give his father no answer except to suggest that he may want to try his hand at his new hobby – writing.

“Being Young” is a 10 minute short film from first time Norwegian writer/director Simon A. Kristiansen, and he tries to show the angst that most young men feel as they struggle to find their place in life. Like many, Lars is lost and unsure. He knows he can bed down pretty much any woman he wants, but these brief affairs only add to his uncertainty about life. Adulthood is quickly approaching and Lars fears everything that maturity represents. So he follows the mantra “if you believe everything will be fine, it eventually will be.”

Kristiansen has chosen a topic that has taken dozens of filmmakers decades to explore. And while he doesn’t offer any great new truth, he does offer a soothing observation to the young and confused. Kristiansen seems to be saying that there is no magical moment in life when maturity and wisdom are bestowed. Adulthood will happen and it’s ok to feel lost.

Much like its main character, the film meanders a little bit, but it does benefit from a good performance from Helge Alexander Diego Forland. Forland has good charisma and possess a young Brad Pitt arrogance that is perfect for Lars. He is moody and brooding.

What was astonishing to me was how I felt while watching the film. I was immediately taken back to my own youth and my own conflicting emotions about growing up. The movie summoned up powerful feelings in me and Kristiansen should be lauded for accomplishing that in his first film.

“Being Young” may be a short film, but it successfully delivers on an emotional level.

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