My Generation (2018)
You say you want a revolution
In My Generation, Michael Caine takes us for a stroll down memory lane. To a decade that would come to define a city and a generation of young adults inside that city. I'm talking London, England, in the swinging 60's.
Caine, with his easy manner, exemplary acting ability and fun cockney accent, is a perfect tour guide. He has written two autobiographies, parts of both of which he infuses into this film and as such My Generation pulls double duty as a sort of Caine mini-bio, and a document of a definitive time.
It's pretty amazing actually, to see just how sudden a shift it was for London to go from being a very working class, uptight, prim and proper place, to a metropolitan centre ransacked with explosions of colour, women in tight, short skirts and men with long hair.
For many citizens of a certain generation at that time, it was as if the red light districts began pouring into the street and turning the city upside down and inside out.
Other than a few places where Caine is walking the London of today, or sitting in a chair narrating to us, the film is made up of video clips and photos of the time. It also features some (off screen) interviews with a few of England's heroes of the 1960's, like Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey, Twiggy, and Marianne Faithful.
Their perspectives on things adds a nice layer of context to the swoosh of images flying past the screen.
And speaking of that swoosh, the editing of this film is incredible. The intercutting of Caine today, with Caine of the 60's, always matching his narration, or The Beatles in the early days, or photos of Twiggy, or whatever else is going on. The film is always busy, always has plenty to show, and what it's showing is always fascinating.
The party can't last forever though. And the film eventually finds its way into the eventuality of all that free sex and careless drug use. As the swinging 60's pushed its way into the 70's, those kaleidoscopic colours began to fade. The drugs got harder (and harder to kick), the sex got irresponsible, and the generation of London youth that forced its city into a new mindset, began to face the repercussions of too much, too soon.
You can almost hear the heavy chorus of 'I told you so's coming from the elder generations rooftops, as it all came crashing down.
But Caine is optimistic. As filled with hope as he is with nostalgia, he looks back fondly on the London he helped create in the 1960's with a few of his world changing pals. And in the final moments, as he looks out over the London of 2018, a bustling, outrageously expensive jewel in the crown of the United Kingdom, the sadness you sense is not of what the 60's eventually became a decade later, but that he isn't back there right now. Colourful, carefree, with a world of opportunity laid out at his feet.