Young At Heart - Review

Young At Heart

Documentaries were practically invented for music, and the same could be said in reverse. While a projected screen can serve as a forum for performances, it can also take the viewer behind the scenes and even at times, take a journey into the psyche of the performers themselves. But only a great documentary can take that personal experience and turn it into a beautiful allegory for life itself, and Young At Heart is a great documentary.

Stephen Walker follows the Young at Heart Chorus, a performance group who specializes in classic rock and pop song covers. Their selection of tunes is diverse, ranging from Sonic Youth, to Coldplay, to James Brown. But it's not the songs that set this group apart, it's the fact that all the performers are senior citizens, with an average age of 81.

Age serves as an unparalleled catalyst for action, as one member of the group puts it, and I paraphrase, "No one gets out of this world alive." While the Young at Heart performers have performed overseas in the presence of royalty, the goal remains the same. Learn the songs, be able to perform the songs, and just keep on living. But they don't just survive, they live for the music. As such, they prove themselves to be real, true musicians, perhaps more so than the artists they cover. Though their voices have been limited, their age gives them a sense of poetic justice.

It's the souls portrayed that set this film apart from other documentaries, not the documentary itself. While the film making is generally solid, it's the characters and people that make it what it is. Stephen Walker, who narrates and performs interviews, could easily be interpreted as a bit melodramatic, but to be frank, it's clear that he has no idea what kind of a story he is in the midst of. It needs no introduction, requires no extrapolation, these people are real and that's why we love them.

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