Young@Heart is also about the end of life but it doesn’t have to use any dramatic devices to bring the viewer to tears, because the people on the screen are not actors, they are real living members of the Young@Heart Chorus from Northampton, MA. After watching the movie and seeing 80-year-old’s enjoy themselves performing songs that don’t fit their stereotype I couldn’t help but think how hard the same thing would be for me. So somewhere between my age and their age there is a point where I would transition from thinking that I am making a fool of myself, to just enjoying myself unencumbered by the need of everyone else’s approval. I hope it comes around soon.
The people on the screen are so real and happy; at that age they learned to deal with death – their imminent own and their friends’; lifetimes behind them add a whole another dimension to the songs they are performing. “I will survive”, “Staying alive” and “I wanna be sedated” take on a different meaning when sung by an 80-year-old with oxygen tubes in his nose. The funniest part is that these people are completely aware of the irony and enjoy it just as much as their audiences.
At the end of the movie a man named Fred Knittle sings “Fix You” by himself because his duet partner died few days before the concert. Fred passed away last week. This is probably the most touching and heartfelt rendition of any song I’ve heard in many years, oxygen puffs and all.
Young@Heart – the best and the most uplifting movie of the last year, documentary or not.