Young @ Heart (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/10/2008

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

Hugely enjoyable, emotionally engaging and genuinely uplifting documentary that'll make you want to call your grandparents.

What's it all about?
Under the tutelage of 53 year-old musical director Bob Cilman, the Young @ Heart chorus is an American singing group, made up of pensioners aged between 75 and 93, who specialise in performing classic and contemporary rock songs. British director Stephen Walker's documentary spends several weeks with the chorus as they rehearse several new songs in preparation for an upcoming concert.

Over the course of the documentary, several delightful characters emerge, including: the chorus' oldest member, flirtatious, British-born 93 year-old Eileen Hall (whose performance of Should I Stay or Should I Go opens the film); Stan Goldman and Dora Morrow, who are rehearsing a duet of James Brown's I Feel Good; Joe Benoit, who had survived cancer and defied several doctors' warnings in order to tour with the group; and ex-group members Fred Knittle and Bob Salvini, who are persuaded to return to the group after serious illnesses, to perform a stunning duet of Coldplay's Fix You.

The Good
The set-up for Young @ Heart sounds like a gimmick, but the chorus quickly wins you over with a combination of their lively personalities, their musical artistry and their sheer joie de vivre. In particular, songs like The Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive and Talking Heads' Road to Nowhere take on whole new meanings when sung by the group.

The Great
The film is given an extra layer of poignancy when two members of the group die during filming (frankly, you spend the rest of the film dreading a long list of dedications at the end). The chorus are visibly shaken, yet they resolve to carry on with the show – this leads to an extraordinary sequence where they perform for a group of prisoners an hour or so after hearing of one of the deaths and several of the prisoners are shown choking back tears.

Worth seeing?
In short, Young @ Heart is a hugely enjoyable, superbly made and genuinely uplifting film that will make you both laugh and cry. Unmissable.

Film Trailer

Young @ Heart (PG)
Young @ Heart has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 06:51

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