As I watch the rather depressing Oscar-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side, I am writing my movie review for an equally good documentary that falls on the opposite end of the spectrum: Young@Heart. About a group of senior citizens who sing rock and punk songs for sold-out audiences, Young@Heart is a touching and uplifting film that surprises and impresses every step of the way.
Directed by Stephen Walker, Young@Heart focuses on six or eight of these senior citizens, who are mainly in their 80's and 90's. They have been brought together by chorus director Bob Cilman to entertain audiences by having these people, who generally admitted they like to listen to classical musical, sing songs you would never expect to hear old people sing. As is the case with a lot of old people, these people are by default funny (in the beginning, it is announced that one choir member may pass a kidney stone) or intentionally so, as several of them are quite witty or downright flirtatious.
Young@Heart works on many levels, the first being that it's simply entertaining. Every character is interesting to some degree or another, and as already mentioned have their wits about them and then some. Beyond that, the movie is enjoyable; this is one of those rare feel-good films that are both authentic and interesting. The movie doesn't try to take advantage of your feelings, and presents things matter-of-factly: the highlights (singing for prison inmates) and the lows (two choir members die over the course of a week).
Young@Heart is funny, lighthearted, sad and emotional all at the same time. Recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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