Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 100
    If Young at Heart were merely a cheeky presentation of codgers belting out inappropriate tunes, it would be a curiosity and nothing more. But by getting inside the lives of a few of its members, the movie ultimately paints a moving portrait of senior citizens who believe it's better to burn out than fade away.
  2. They also make joyful music, communicated, both by the singers and their playful, sensitive documentarian, with an authority that quite knocks off socks.
  3. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    An exuberant, affectionate documentary.
  4. Vibrant and vivacious documentary.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A heartening and poignant affirmation of the transformative power of music.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Sloppily made at times and it comes close to wearing out its welcome, but you can't blame Walker for not wanting to let his subjects go. And as the movie progresses, a viewer begins to understand why: These people are literally singing for their lives.
  7. British director Stephen Walker approached this project with wide-eyed good humor.
  8. 80
    The film’s appeal is at once sentimental and perverse: It’s not every day that you get to see a 92-year-old woman soloing on “Should I Stay Or Should I Go.” Not surprisingly, a feature remake is already in the works.
  9. The movie offers an encouraging vision of old age in which the depression commonly associated with decrepitude is held at bay by music making, camaraderie and a sense of humor.
  10. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    An irresistibly joyous, tearful and, most importantly, musical doc about a band of senior pop singers whose repertoire includes "Golden Years," "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "Stayin' Alive."
  11. 78
    Young@Heart more than subtly suggests that the secret to growing old is to feel young, and – based on what you see in this film – there may be some truth to that platitude.
  12. 75
    What makes Young@Heart such an ingratiating experience goes far deeper than the novelty of seeing old people singing hard rock tunes.
  13. One of the most delightful movies to come along this year.
  14. 75
    It's truly inspiring to watch Fred Knittle, 81 and tethered to an oxygen tank, perform a riveting solo of Coldplay's "Fix You" after his singing partner dies shortly before the show.
  15. 75
    Likely to bring a smile to your lips and a bounce to your step.
  16. Reviewed by: Kamal AL-Solaylee
    Ultimately, though, it's the life-affirming sentiments of the documentary and not its backstage drama that may turn it into a popular hit, especially among boomers who can now legitimately fantasize about their impending retirements as musical stars.
  17. Reviewed by: Andy Spletzer
    If the chorus was the sole focus of the documentary, it would have been brilliant. Unfortunately, director Stephen Walker makes the movie as much about himself as it is about the singers.
  18. A tribute to the therapeutic powers of musicmaking and choral camaraderie.
  19. This may sound like a suspect enterprise, a musical gimmick impossible to embrace, but the reality is otherwise. For what the members of this uncanny chorus lack in pure ability they make up for in irrepressible spirits and a desire to simply have fun.
  20. Here are old people in all the magnificence of their elderliness. The movie doesn't pretend like getting old is any fun. But it's about the transcendental power of -- well, yes, music; and each of these folks has a talent whose expression is a fuel to survive.
  21. 58
    There's a wealth of great material here, especially a shattering performance of Coldplay's "Fix You" by a soulful mountain of a man named Fred Knittle.
  22. 50
    The project reeks of commercial calculation, which is just tolerable until Walker, in search of a story arc, follows two chorus members with serious illnesses into the hospital.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Mar 18, 2013
    This movie is as inspiring as it is emotional as it is funny. It is a must watch music documentary. I did not like the background comments made by the director and following members of the group to the hospital was unnecessary and insensitive as well, but I looked past these flaws and thought it was incredible from start to finish. You have no reason not to watch this, seriously (and you don't even have to be a rock fan). Full Review »
  2. MelindaS.
    Jun 21, 2008
    I hope Bob Cilman, the chorus director, has a long and successful career. What he does with - and for - these amazing performers (and they are all performers first, singers second) is inspirational. Rock music is a complex and compelling thing, and this documentary gives it yet another dimension. Full Review »
  3. ChadS.
    May 23, 2008
    Avant-garde composer/musician John Zorn said this about the Langley School Music Project, "This is is beauty. This is truth. This is music that touches the heart in a way no other music ever has, or ever could." Unlike the field recordings of the seventies era-Canadian school children(led by music teacher Hans Fenger) who would go on to inspire Richard Linklater's "The School of Rock", there's a knowingness behind the retirement home chorus renditions of post-punk standards like "Life During Wartime"(David Byrne) and "Schizophrenia"(Thurston Moore), which has the subtle reek of exploitation. The manipulation is deliberative and a little too choreographed. The music director knows exactly how these fragile people, who quite literally throughout "Young at Heart", drop like flies, will impact an audience, when interpreting songs about their impending mortality(most astonishingly, we hear The Police's "Every Breath You Take", a song about romantic obsession, with new ears). So you have to negotiate a little calculation with your "up with old people" uplift. But there are exceptions; most notably, the guy in the wheelchair whose modest, plaintive voice finds the truth in Coldplay's "Fix You". I'm cynical, but not that cynical. Full Review »