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“Get ready to fall in love with life and music all over again.”

Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter. Every now and then I will see something that I just want to tell everyone about. Sure I get passionate about films as a whole or I would not do what I do. But there are certain cinematic creations that just stir me up and I want to go around and personally invite everyone to see it. That is most certainly the case with the new documentary from Stephen Walker entitled Young at Heart. Many people I have talked to have heard about this amazing geriatric chorus group from Massachusetts who put their own unique spin on rock and pop but few knew that their story was now on the big screen. Led by music director Bob Cilman and made up of performers who range in age from 72 to 88, the Young at Heart chorus rocks. Simple as that.

What wasn’t simple was the creating of this documentary. Stephen Walker spent hours painstakingly going over the footage he had captured in order to bring this story to the state it is now. His editing style and use of music and real life characters allows you to get to know these wonderful men and women while keeping the story and the facts moving at a decent pace. It was wild to find out that certain chorus members who I felt dominated the story only appear once or twice. Walker made use of every moment and allowed no fluffy filler. Plus, this is real life. What I love about documentaries is that you cant write anything as compelling as the human existence. Walker goes back stage into the lives of these members for a candid look at what drives them to do this at their age. Overcoming illness and disease and death to press on and go week after week.

Many may wonder what is so special about old people singing. They see it every week in their churches and many in their homes. And that is true. We should not marvel that someone in their 70’s can be in a chorus or have a unique gift and hobby. What we can do is use this as a reminder that music touches lives of any age and that just because we reach a certain plateau in life does not mean that we have to stop evolving. The man who said you can never teach an old dog new tricks, never encountered one of these feisty singers as they tackle the music Cilman brings to them. The Clash, James Brown, Cold Play, The Flaming Lips and Radiohead. Though songs of this generation they have never been more poignant than when performed by these seasoned by years.

Young at Heart is rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements. This is a movie for every generation and should be viewed by all. You will laugh along with these characters as the struggle through lyrics and deal with songs of angst. You will weep too at the love and emotion that is transformed through their lives and music. Songs you have heard for years will take on new meaning in this context. The lyrics are the same. Nothing has been altered. But when you hear them from these men and women you will hear them as never before. I give Young at Heart a solid 4 out of 5 mosh pits. Get ready to fall in love with life and music all over again.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)(4/16/08)

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and co-hosts a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy. For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

Review copyright 2008 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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