Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"And I will try to fix you."

Wait, I have an actual movie to review mid-week?  Well, I guess it could occasionally happen, but this time around it's because I needed to watch before the rental was due.  As much as Netflix sounds like a good idea, I can't help but not trust them, about as much as their business buddy (rhymes with All Dart, as in, "Let's all dart away from this place because it destroys downtowns and doesn't actually HELP the poor community it's sucking funds from...", but I digress).

For once, this is an actually semi-current movie, so I'll try and do my best with this review.  A movie that reminds you that you're never too old to sing at the top of your lungs but also makes you appreciate everyone and everything around you, Young at Heart is a film about a group of elderly citizens (average age of 80 years) who put on performances of rock and pop hits.  Now you may be saying to yourself, "Why would I want to hear old people singing The Ramones?"  The movie is less about the music and more about the spirit of these fine individuals.  You can't help but engulf yourself into their world.

What struck me most was not their singing (not great, but when you're 80 years old and able to get around and do things and still have a smile on your face, I think the singing is the icing on the cake), but their enthusiasm for life.  There's always two paths you can go down in your elder years.  You can either be bitter about how the world treated you, OR you can appreciate all that you've done and seen, the people you've met, and the lives you've changed.  All of these individuals are the latter, in my mind.  And one way to keep living each day to the fullest is music.  There's a little twinkle in their eyes as they're rehearsing (even if they initially don't care for the song selections).  It gives the younger generations hope that one day we'll all be so lucky as they are (even with health issues) and know we're going to a better place after we pass from this world.

I knew a little bit about this movie, so I was ready for some of the sadder moments (don't even need to mention what those could be) but others really tugged at my heart.  Somehow, in less than two hours, you feel like you know these men and women, like they're YOUR grandparents.  And as much as I was ready for anything, I still had trouble controlling the waterworks.

In brief, this documentary follows the rehearsals and keys moments in the lives of the Young at Heart chorus, up to the annual concert in Northampton, Massachusetts.  They're attempting 6 new songs, and it's the journey of their ability to perform these new songs, along with some classics, that encompasses the timeline of the film.  And never have I heard a more tearjerking performance of Coldplay's "Fix You."  Here's the original version:

And here's the Young at Heart's take: (embedding was disabled by request)

Now, imagine knowing these individuals and understanding what they have gone through to be here.  Amidst the sad moments, these individuals rise up and perform despite those losses.  I had originally just seen the video of Fix You from the film, but after seeing the entire movie, I really understood what it meant.

So if I had to tell someone to buy this on DVD, I would say yes.  If I thought I should do the same, I would say no.  Mostly because I don't know if I could deal with the waterworks again.  As much as I truly enjoyed this movie, the emotions I had were something that reminds me I'm human, but I don't think I could deal.

To help lift the spirits, here's something to remind us how lucky we are.  Later!

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