The New Age (1994) Poster


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Well-paced drama, with a little dark humor.
el_nickster15 June 2005
I liked this film because it does a good job of making the viewer consider what is important in life, and why. On the other hand, it is not the most exciting movie ever made. I recommend this if you want a story to ponder that exposes modern values to criticism. I give it a 7/10.

Peter and Katherine are a typical couple of California yuppies. They want to be cool, the want to indulge themselves, they live lavishly on their credit cards, and they hold "spiritual values" above wealth and work. Unfortunately, when their careers go down the toilet during the recession in the early 1990s, they fall upon hard times. They try to start an independent business, but their easy and hedonistic lifestyle prevents them from putting in the blood, sweat, and tears that are required for success in retail. Their spiritual values are of no help when things get rough, because their "New Age" values are really just a justification for selfishness and egocentricity.

The movie is the story of their loss of innocence. To get their lives back on track, they have to work hard at jobs that simply are not cool. Their elitist attitudes must give way to sacrifice and common sense. It is not clear whether this is a triumph or a tragedy for Peter and Katherine. That is left up to the viewer in this one.
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A film off the beaten path.
gsnoorky28 July 2004
The response to this film was a little more negative than I expected. I liked the film better than Tolkin's "The Rapture." It's one of my favorites to watch for non-serious viewing.

The film has a quirkiness, even a spookiness, that, apparently, many dislike and don't understand. I wanted to recount the plot; however, since that's not desired, I don't see why other reviewers think the plot is so implausible.

Peter Weller's and Judy Davis' characters seem to be mismatched partners, but is that so implausible? This dissonance was probably intended, but disliked by many viewers. Anyway, the main characters compromise themselves in many ways: I think Peter and Judy do well in the movie.

I also like Adam West in his small part, and the under-rated Patrick Bachau plays his part as a new-age guru with urbane spookiness. Corbin Bernsen has a small part at the beginning as the boss for Peter Weller's character (Weller's character is conveniently named "Peter.")

Finally, I like the depictions of certain new-age ceremonies and personalities--this is rare in movies.... I think the movie is thoughtful. It does not have much action, but don't most action films today flagrantly violate the law of "suspension of disbelief?"

This film will not be liked by the multitude in America with the attention span of a gnat.
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It bites!
mads T18 March 1999
This film was a complete surprise to me. It's clever, funny and very thought-provoking. Judy Davis and Peter Weller (that man is underrated) both deliver excellent performances. A warning: The ending isn't quite the usual happy salvation, but it really does hit the perfect note on one of the main themes of the film: You can't always get what you want. And pushing that very feeling to the viewer just before the credits is perhaps the cleverest thing about the whole film.
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Mess or Masterpiece?
kev-2224 January 1999
Critics seem to have split widely on this film, and it's easy to see why. It's a rather painful, plodding thing to sit through--yet one can't get it out of the mind afterward. Writer/director Tolkin has a lot of disturbing things to say about post-industrial affluence in America in the 1990s, and in trying to say everything in one movie he has piled it on so thick that the brain requires a postmortem to reflect. Judy Davis, as she was in "Husbands and Wives," is dynamite, and the film is worth seeing just for her. The film has an uncanny eye and feel for the bleak interiors of the contemporary American service economy: the boutiques, the high-rise telemarketing boiler rooms, the house-poor interiors of career people who are hardly ever at home, etc. The film's title refers to the spiritual quest of the couple to find a meaning to their existence, or at least some alternative approach to life to their destructive materialism. How they go about it is all wrong, of course. In true hedonist fashion, they try everything. At the same time they seek a simpler, spiritual, non-materialistic life via a bunch of wacky gurus and cultists, they are indulging in carnal and other pleasures as diversions. When they open a small business, ostensibly to gain more control over their lives and income, the forces of the world are worse than any bosses. In all of this, they seem to be outside of everything they do, as in dreams when you watch yourself and are powerless to control the changing scenery. Despite their doldrums and hostility, this is a couple who have too much in common to split. During the course of all this, Tolkin gets plenty of jabs in about an American economy that seems to be teetering on wisps of hope rather than on any true productivity. By the end, the "new age" looks uncomfortably like a very old one, in which the law of the jungle reigned.
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Dry, black comedy. Those who don't like it didn't get it.
cuervo-27 April 2001
The previous reviewer's comments mysteriously do not allude to the terrific humor of this film. It is a clever, understated, totally deadpan comedy. If you like black, dry humor, this film is for you. At the same time it skewers the vapidly self-affirming culture of the wealthy, new age set. Slowly, Peter Weller and Judy Davis's characters' natures are purified in the furnace of self-destruction, until they discover their true selves -- mediocrity and greed, which lately pretended to be new age spirituality. A succession of fatuous gurus pushes them down the slope of destruction, until finally Samuel Jackson, in a fabulous cameo, teaches Peter Weller how to attain ultimate truth through techniques of visualization. By this point, the Davis-Weller characters have lost their jobs, their wealth, their "friends", their home, their failed business, and their relationship (did I mention the affairs?), and, perhaps, all illusions that there was anything at their core.

With the exception of one or two scenes, everything in this film is deliciously subtle and understated, but all the more wickedly funny for it. You might not realize how good it is at first. A second viewing will really help your appreciation of it.

If this film doesn't make you laugh, grasshopper, then perhaps you still do not know yourself.
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fandangonoir10 January 2001
Yes, The New Age is beguiling art film and not for everyone, but I enjoyed its take on the L.A. nouveau riche set. Peter Weller and the luscious Judy Davis are back again as a whacked out couple that are not unlike the pair they played in Cronenberg's Naked Lunch. I liked the look of the film, the off the wallness of it all, and its sly sense of humor. We need another reteaming of Weller and Davis for the new millenium, daddy-o. But if you like art movies about the rich bitch L.A. scene go see The New Age. Solid.
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One of my favorite movies
Knox Bronson24 August 2006
Gee ... I started to type in One of and the computer filled in the rest, so obviously ... i've named some other movie here on the IMDb one of my favorites ... oh well ... room for more than one.

This movie, The New Age, is one of those great black comedies that sort of fell through the cracks on release ... and for some odd reason has not yet been released on DVD, which is a shame.

I just rented it tonight and dragged my VHS player out so I could watch it. It's been awhile since I've seen it ... just some great lines and scenes ... a walk through southern California new age spiritualism and materialism ...

A very intelligent script ... great acting and casting ...
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Educational Film
marooned_maroon20 July 2005
This movie is not fun to watch like those wonderful Bob Fosse films or any of the movies shown on American Movie Classics or network television, but it does carry a couple of compelling messages. First, those who go into sales would be well advised to avoid selling to friends. Second, those who work in telemarketing are corrupted more by their occupation than a person's dead body is by the agents of decay. This movie contains the best examples of the sociopathic nature of sales people since the chapter of Steinbeck's, "The Grapes of Wrath," about the thought process of a used car salesman in the Great Depression. It would have rated a "10" if there had been a scene at end where the main characters were shown burning in hell.
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Great Acting, "90's" film!
80's guy31 October 1999
who is better in this movie?,,wellers/davis?,,i don't know,both are amazong!,,even the other actors do great,especially samuel l jackson and adam west,,yes adam west.....this will be a cult classic in the future,maybe the first non-box office cult classic?,,the french guy,who ever he is is also very good!,,,it makes you wonder why wellers doesn't act much anymore?!!,,,though not a major problem it is a little slow,so i give it a 9 out of 10.
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Live the question?
Steve Skafte15 March 2010
"The New Age" is half fascinating and half dull. It's very much a comedy, albeit a very dark and satirical one. But it's emotionally distant, and has the distinct sense of being a film about rich people made for and by other rich people. It's about a world with a built-in sense of the ridiculous in the everyday, so much so that it's hard to know what's meant to make us laugh and what's designed to reflect real life. The leads are good. Peter Weller and Judy Davis disappear into their characters, Davis to the point I really didn't recognize her. The best and most entertaining part of the film is Samuel L. Jackson's cameo, and the scenes directly relating to it.

Michael Tolkin's script has a lot of depth, but his direction doesn't. He films what happens, but without any real understanding of how to stage it. "The New Age" is a visually flat film, and looks like just about every average film from 1994. Which is to say, pretty dull. But, in the end, the script lifts the film up enough to be interesting in passing. I don't regret having seen this.
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Satire of Hollywood phonies--by phonies
moonspinner5513 June 2004
Michael Tolkin impressed me so much with his film "The Rapture" that it was certainly depressing to then see his talents go to waste with this absurd comedy of lost morals. A graphic designer and her Hollywood honcho husband are in big financial trouble: she has no clients and he just quit his job. Some of their solutions are quirky and interesting, but the characters are off-base right from the start. Tolkin is the new Sidney Lumet: everyone screams irrationally at everyone, but it's tough to discern whether or not we're supposed to laugh at their banal verbal matches--from opposite ends of their swimming pool! In the leads (another problem), Judy Davis and Peter Weller can't work up any semblance of chemistry, or to even convince us they're a high-powered married couple. A few of their marital predicaments are worked out amusingly (they separate within the house, and date others), but their jealousies and insecurities are a bore. Tolkin (the screenwriter of "The Player") pretends to know these people. He's pseudo-hip. It would be to his ultimate advantage if he broadened his horizons...or maybe made some new friends. *1/2 from ****
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Interesting - but doesn't quite work
bob the moo17 December 2001
Wealthy LA couple Peter and Katherine live comfortably, spending on credit and having affairs. When Peter quits his job as a recession looms the couple find that money is tighter and the values they hold dear mean nothing. Can they get in touch with themselves to navigate through their journey of life.

This film seems to be an attack on the yuppie culture in LA, with their materialism, their spiritualism and their aimless, work-shy lives. It seems this way for the most part but towards the end seems to say that we can all be happy if we accept who we are and confront it. It doesn't quite ride with me but the film up till this point is good - it's interesting and a bit moving to see the couple's relationship rise and fall with the difficult times. However once it falls back on spiritualism and the like it loses a lot of credibility.

Peter Weller and Judy Davis are both good in the leads, managing to display the correct amount of arrogance and emotion during the story. Adam West has a small role and is not great - is it just me or does everyone else still see Batman when they look at him. Samuel L. Jackson has a small cameo as a motivational salesman (like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glenross) and he shows off his trademark powerful performance - but he's not as good as Baldwin was (the material's fault).

Overall a good attack on materialism but the spiritual stuff doesn't work.
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hmmm interesting to see this sort of 3rd generation Altman via Alan Rudolph kinda sorta thingie
marymorrissey11 January 2011
I'm very surprised that it's described as a "drama" in the ... place from which I downloaded it (I forget whether we're allowed to mention these places by name - the red envelope place, please). Anyway, it's definitely more a comedy/satire than a drama and as such it's rather heavy handed and obvious. Still it's somewhat amusing.

Whether you liked it or not, if you even got through it I would recommend you check out, for something similar but much much better all around, Alan Rudolph's "Choose Me" which is actually one of my favorite movies both for its style and substance.

Oh, and I will say some of the editing choices in this film really left me scratching my head and wondering whether they were desperate attempts to gloss over little accidents of some sort in the shooting or just kind of bad editing/montagerie.

The acting was good in general Rachel Rosenthal was almost too real! Brava!
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tataglia10 September 2007
A vicious satire of LA, and by extension American consumerist culture gone haywire.

A perfect companion piece to The Player, another masterpiece which screenwriter/director Michael Tolkin also wrote.

Peter Weller is note perfect, this is his best performance.

Judy Davis is heartbreaking.

Holy Adam West!

Michal Tolkin is a great director, here's hoping we see more from him soon.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Tolkin's The Rapture, as dark a film as has have ever come out of Hollywood.
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Buck Aroo10 February 2003
Yuppie couple. Falls on hard times. After too many good times. Lose jobs. Have affairs. Have crisis of identity. Then set up in business.

That's a rough sketch of what happens, and it's quite watchable. Judy Davis looks incredibly young and sexy. So does Peter Weller. And it's written by Olly Stone too...What more do people want?

I Never 'New' It Was This Good!!!
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A lead balloon of a film
George Parker18 March 2001
"The New Age" is deep satire which runs the gamut of things 90's. Using a Davis and Weller, a 40ish L.A. married couple, as a centerpiece, the film attempts to depict the emptiness of the hedonistic, materialistic, and morally bankrupt life style of the "new age" as it follows the principals from schmoozfests to open marriages to euthanasia to spiritual healing to spas and massages to orgies, etc, all the while portraying the characters as subtle exaggerations which are likely to go over with most audiences like a lead balloon. This unfortunate product by Tolkin starts like serious drama and slowly drifts in limbo somewhere between satire and realism so as to leave many wondering why the film was made and why they bothered to watch it.
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Pure CRAP!
CupidGrl26 February 2000
This movie sux so bad! I feel for the actors in it, because if I would've been in it, I couldn't help but fall asleep probably! This movie is so pitiful, I don't even know how I finished it. I rented it because I like Bruce Ramsay, but even he didn't save it 4 me. Don't rent it!!!!!
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