Saturday, November 7, 2009

Young @ Heart

Imagine, if you will, a choir of men and women in their 70s and up singing The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go." Or how about "I Feel Good" by James Brown. This group in Massachusetts pulls it off with style! This film is a documentary about a few weeks in the life of this amazing vocal group as they prepare a new show. The filmmaker captures the joy the singers get from singing and performing together. The groups director, much younger than any of the singers, doesn't coddle them and hold back in rehearsal, but is demanding and critical, pushing them as any good choir director would. The viewer sits in rehearsal with them, and gets to know many of the singers on a more personal level.

That would be enough to see, but the film goes much deeper. Not to give too much of the movie away, but, as you might expect in any group at that age, you will occasionally lose someone. If you are a movie crier, you might shed a few tears in the second half. Anyone would be inspired to see how the group responds to adversity, banding together in their love for one another and their common love of singing.

The singers of Young at Heart dispel many stereotypes about aging. They are very different from one another in many ways, and have varying levels of health and independence, but they have purpose and focus as they sing together. If I make it to 80 or 90 or more, I hope I still have a passion that will keep me going the way these folks do!

Bottom line, 3 1/2 stars.

By the way, I picked this up because I thought they had done a Brave Combo (one of my favorite bands) cover. Turns out they do sing one of their songs, but it did not make it into the movie. But you can listen to it here, toward the bottom of the page:

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