i admit i was hesitant to take my grandmother to this one. while every preview i had seen was intriguing beyond belief, i had also surmised that the film got many laughs from the supposedly “humorous” aspects of the elderly, and i thought that was kind of unfair. but when i heard my own grandma laugh in the theater, i decided it was ok for me, too. just not for the asshole sitting behind me.
this documentary follows a group of massachusetts seniors, known as the Young@Heart, as they rehearse for a performance and as they debut their new show. their repertoire is what might be called “unconventional,” in the sense that they perform songs that their grandchildren would probably be more into. from coldplay to sonic youth to james brown to sinead o’connor, they’ve got a modern sensibility and a musical drill instructor for a director, and they as much heart and soul into their performances as their aging bodies will permit.
watching these people on screen really is a slap in the face. it makes you appreciate your health, your youth, and your potential. it makes you want to hang out with your grandparents. and it really puts things into perspective, if you’ll excuse the cliche. i often find it really, really difficult to picture older generations in their twenties. i mean, we all know that you had to be 20 in order to be 80, but especially as a kid i always sort of imagined that my grandparents were born like that, with wrinkles and SAS shoes and a special affinity for sinatra. the visual logic screws me up every time. so seeing a film that portrays seniors at their happiest, recalling their youth and finding beauty and humor in every day, is quite inspiring. not all moments are joyful, as mortality kicks in every once in awhile, but it makes you realize that in a couple generations, you’ll be dealing with the same problems. and that’s just the way it is, and it’s ultimately not too bad.