Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
A group of elderly American choristers is coaxed and cajoled by their inspired conductor into gutsy performances from a repertoire of hipster favourites in this amazingly satisfying documentary. The singers' tenacious appetite for the life in these songs lingers long after the last note is sounded.
"Two dozen or so amateur singers lend their group's name to Stephen Walker's surprisingly profound documentary. The singers' average age is 80, and they do, at times, shamelessly milk the geezers-gone-wild promotional possibilities of tackling Coldplay, The Clash, Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Prince, and James Brown. But Walker, a British documentarian who fell under the Young@Heart spell three years ago when he heard the group take on David Byrne's 'Road to Nowhere' on a London stage has found a delicate, thoughtful, respectful, witty way to convey both the matter-of-fact dignity of the individual men and women... as well as the ineffable power of determining to live fully until there's no breath left. Physical frailty, illness, and death are not magically overcome by showing up for rehearsal; the group, led by music director Bob Cilman, has cause to mourn during the course of Walker's time with them. They also make joyful music, communicated... with an authority that quite knocks off socks." — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"When the chorus tackles gems like Springsteen's 'Dancing in the Dark' and Coldplay's 'Fix You', it gives the songs a lived-in beauty that allows the audience to hear them anew. As the film elicits the touching stories of the singers' lives, it rises to become a sobering, poetic ode to joy." — Bruce Diones, New Yorker