Saturday, April 12, 2008

Young @ Heart

Young@Heart is a documentary about a group of singers who cover classic rock tunes and whose average age is 80. They are charming, charismatic, brave and reasonably in tune most of the time. Their director, Bob Cilman, is earnest and professional. The bunch of them are cuter than a basket full of kittens.

It's a shame, then, that producer Sally George and director Stephen Walker don't let the story tell itself, but instead choose to go the route of sentimentality and manipulation in telling the story, wringing the last drops of suspense and pathos out of the final illnesses of two cast members. Some very bad news is broken to the choir with the cameras present and rolling, and Walker presses close with pedestrian and patronizing questions at a vulnerable moment. Tellingly, when it is time to deliver bad news a second time, the assistant to the choir's director first dismisses the filmmakers, asking them to stand outside. Apparently she didn't appreciate their ham-handed presence any more than I did.

The movie is still well-worth seeing, and the music and its makers are a lot of fun. Walker's narration and his behavior and choices in making the film make me quite sure, though, that if he and the Young@Heart chorus ever turn up on my doorstep, I'll make the same choice: invite the chorus in, and leave him on the doorstep.

A tentative Thumb's Up for Young@Heart.


Post a Comment

<< Home