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Documents the true story of the final weeks of rehearsal for the Young at Heart Chorus in Northampton, MA, whose average age is 81, and many of whom must overcome health adversities to participate. Their music is unexpected, going against the stereotype of their age group, performing songs, for example, by James Brown, and Sonic Youth. Although they have toured Europe and sang for royalty, this account focuses on preparing new songs, not an easy endeavor, for a concert in their home town, which succeeds in spite of several real heart breaking events. Written by
The end of the credits in the original European version of the movie featured a brief clip of Eileen Hall chatting with the production crew: "I feel sorry for you two - you with that camera and you with that thing, always bobbing up and down. Don't you get tired? Yeah, I bet you do." That clip was cut from the U.S. release and re-appeared as bonus material on the U.S. DVD release. See more »
It may sound like it, but this is no cliché: this movie will make you laugh and cry. It's true.
In a day with so much garbage being put out, this was a refreshing film to view - something true, too. It's a documentary about a group of old-timers (senior citizens, if you will) from Northampton, Mass., who tour and sing rock 'n roll. There is something absurd, outrageous, comical and entertaining about seeing an 89-year-old imitating James Brown and screaming, "I Feel Good!" What we witness in this two-hour documentary is both funny at times, but also sad. Hey, it's reality; life is hard, especially as you get older and older. Some of the members of this group die during the filming of it. The other men and women have to deal with these losses. "The show must on," as the old saying goes, but it's not easy.
The group sings rock standards and stuff that is pretty recent. It's hardly just Brown, the Ramones, Beatles, Bee Gees or Stones songs. It's also these old folks performing Sonic Youth, Coldplay, The Clash and the like.
Of all the members, one can't but be most impressed with the voice of Fred Knittle, who has to sit and sing while having an oxygen tank next to him. His voice is really, really good. Then there is 92-year-old and spunky Eileen Hall and then there six-time cancer patient Joe Benoit, probably the nicest man you'd ever meet. All the people here are interesting.
The more I watched this, the more respect I had for Bob Cilman, who directs this group. That man must have tremendous patience and a big, big heart for older people. It's frustrating when members keep forgetting their lines time and time again, but Bob presses on. He's called a "taskmaster" a few times but the group has great respect for him.
Director Steven Walker does a super job putting this film together, holding some shots and cutting others off just at the right spots so we get the full effect of the humor or drama of a particular situation. Your emotions will run the gamut watching this. The more sentimental you are, the more it will affect you.
If you have a sense of humor and compassion for people, this is one of the few movies I guarantee you will like.
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