This is by far the best documentary I have seen in a long time. It may not be here long, so if you miss it at The Mariemont Theatre, make sure you rent it when it comes out on DVD.
So unexpected was the entertainment factor in this film that the Chic Stars rating is placed first in this review. It is not often a film (much less a documentary) rates five stars. This film stands out. Listing the names of the people in this film seemed less important as their names are not half as meaningful as their collective performance in this true to life telling of the story behind the documentary, “Young at Heart.”
Years ago, the weekly senior citizens sing-a-long was stopped in its tracks after the last round of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was sung because one of the elderly chorus member stood up and belted out, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction!” Her impromptu performance was so electrifying and entertaining that an idea was born and nurtured by the local music director from the community center. This film documents the thrice-weekly practices and youthful endurance of senior citizens preparing for a sold out concert in their hometown of Northampton, Mass.
Enter Bob Cillan. He is the musical director who, at fifty-three years old, is the youngest member of this senior-filled entourage. They perform unconventional songs such as Sonic Youth ’s “Schizophrenia,” The Ramones’ “I Want To Be Sedated” and James Brown’s “I Feel Good.”
Recently seen on Jay Leno and the Ellen Degeneres Show, the cast of “Young at Heart” has performed on television and also around the world. The subjects are all senior citizens whose median age is 81. The unexpected song list performed by these white haired elderly entertainers makes their performance unexpected.
However, the joy, purity and fortitude they give to each practice and each performance makes their performances endearing. Whether on stage singing to a full house or practicing at the community center, we are privy to their musical triumphs and their human tribulations. With candid honesty British director Stephen Walker shares with us how these rock-n-rollers sing punk rock songs that epitomize the eternal questions of life and youthful angst. Seeing their exuberance and elderly frailties affirms the adage “You are only as young as you feel.” Knowing that their own youths are gone and the answers to life’s eternal questions will be coming sooner to these folks makes it hard for anyone not to be enthusiastic about this documentary.
So many naturally poignant moments throughout this film show us that aging is inevitable – growing old is not.
Chic Stars: Five Chic Stars
Jan’s Movie Rating System:
5 – Top notch entertainment
4 – Compelling, Heartwarming, Thrilling, Comical
3 – The a) story b) actors c) special effects saved/made this movie.
2 – If you are bored watch it, or wait for DVD
1 – Don’t bother. Too morose, too violent, too blasé, an enigma.