Young@Heart Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Summary: Prepare to be entertained by the inspiring individuals of Young@Heart, a New England senior citizens' chorus that has delighted audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash to Coldplay. As Stephen Walker's documentary begins, the retirees, led by their strict musical director, are rehearsing their new show, struggling with a discordant Sonic Youth number and giving new meaning to James Brown's "I Feel Good." What ultimately emerges is a funny and unexpectedly moving testament to friendship, creative inspiration, and reaching beyond expectations. (Fox Searchlight) Expand
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. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A heartening and poignant affirmation of the transformative power of music.
  3. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    An exuberant, affectionate documentary.
  4. 75
    Likely to bring a smile to your lips and a bounce to your step.
  5. 75
    What makes Young@Heart such an ingratiating experience goes far deeper than the novelty of seeing old people singing hard rock tunes.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Chris
    May 13, 2008
    I was astonished to see that this film is not in the top 5 on the list. This is one of those films that everyone should see, especially those who are sitting on the pity pot. It is beautiful, touching, life-affirming story that will make you laugh and make you cry - and when you walk out of the theater you'll just want to start singing - take advantage of the fact that this film is in theaters and go see it ! You'll be glad you did. Collapse
  2. PatriciaB.
    Apr 11, 2008
    This movie is a true gem. I haven't laughed -- or cried -- so much in ages! The "Fix You" segment alone is worth the price of admission. What's so great is that this isn't just a corny "look at all the old people, aren't they cute" kind of movie. Instead, we get to see several members of the chorus profiled on a more individual basis so you get a sense of their personalities. "Old people" aren't a nameless, faceless group separate from the rest of society. They're US many years from now. Just like folks in their teens, 20's, 30's and so on - they have their likes and dislikes... their strengths and weaknesses. And the filmmakers here really captured that sense of individuality, while at the same time really keeping the throughline focused on how the chorus comes together to put on these shows. There are even little "music videos" peppered throughout the film that are absolutely delightful. A must see! Expand
  3. KevinN.
    Apr 18, 2008
    Really quite good. Fix You is absolutely marvelous. a bit slow at time though.
  4. 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. Expand
  5. 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). Expand
  6. 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. Expand
  7. DaleM
    May 23, 2008
    I feel this movie has very limited appeal. If you like reality tv especially shows that give you a vicarious feeling of doing good while sitting in your armchair, you might like this movie. If you want a good storyline, don't go see this movie. The musical numbers are good, but there are surprisingly few of them. I felt the movie was somewhat condescending. Expand