Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 4 Ratings

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  • Summary: Alive Inside investigates the power music has to awaken deeply locked memories. The film follows Dan Cohen, a social worker, who decides on a whim to bring iPods to a nursing home. To his and the staff's surprise many residents suffering from memory loss and Alzheimer's Disease seem toAlive Inside investigates the power music has to awaken deeply locked memories. The film follows Dan Cohen, a social worker, who decides on a whim to bring iPods to a nursing home. To his and the staff's surprise many residents suffering from memory loss and Alzheimer's Disease seem to "awaken" when they are able to listen to music from their past. With great excitement, Dan turns to renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, and we follow them both as we investigate the mysterious way music functions inside our brains and our lives. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    Jan 27, 2014
    100
    A gloriously inspirational film documenting music’s healing power in Alzheimer patients.
  2. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Jul 15, 2014
    90
    Practically guaranteed to elicit tears within its first five minutes, Alive Inside... is nonetheless more than just a tearjerker.
  3. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jul 31, 2014
    90
    As much a plea to change the system as it is an examination of how music helps individuals, Alive Inside is not the most sophisticated documentary, but its power is indisputable, and it does end on a hopeful note.
  4. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Jan 28, 2014
    70
    Rossato-Bennett’s over-the-top narration often sounds cloying and banal... But the filmmaker succeeds in providing context, medical and historical, in between awakenings.
  5. Reviewed by: Steve Greene
    Jan 27, 2014
    67
    Whether it's purely through the use of music or through the individual, attentive care given by some of the featured nursing home workers, the proof of positive changes presented in "Alive Inside" provide a sense of idealism amid bleak situations.
  6. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    Jul 17, 2014
    63
    The doc is heartwarming, but it doesn't delve deeply into the backstories that inform the ailing patients' connection to the music that stirs their memories.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Jul 31, 2014
    38
    Unfortunately, though, Rossato-Bennett and Cohen seem to think that the technique is a panacea. In fact, it is not even original, as music therapy in nursing homes has been around for some time.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jan 27, 2015
    6
    Though it amounts to little more than an amalgamation of sequences involving the power of music overcoming the degenerative effects ofThough it amounts to little more than an amalgamation of sequences involving the power of music overcoming the degenerative effects of senility, these scenes do have an undeniably uplifting, human quality to them. Witnessing actual people, once nothing more than a dormant husk of their once vibrant selves, burst into moments of stunning clarity is truly heartwarming. Alive Inside fails to truly delve into the sciences of neural decay and how music plays a direct role in mending these gaps. It only provides a surface-level examination into the actual reason WHY this method of auditory stimulation seems to cause such an abrupt mental awakening. It is also regrettably brief, clocking in at less than 80-minutes, hindering the film's scope and making it's subject feel less urgent than it actually is. However, I would still say that Alive Inside makes a good name for it's cause and, at the very least, informs and educates about an issue that is tragically left neglected in most public arenas. Along with other 2014 Alzheimer's related dramas (Such as Still Alice, Wrinkles, among others) Alive Inside makes the case that a human being, regardless of how withered their mental capacity, still exists behind the veneer of a horrible disease that is out of their control. The proof lies in these few, bittersweet moments on display, and, I must say, I can't deny that their joy of cognitive recovery touched me deeply. Expand

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