A peek behind the curtain of the self-proclaimed “Disneyland for Retirees”, first-time director Lance Oppenheim’s humorous and bittersweet documentary follows four recent arrivals as they search for the American Dream.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
Welcome to The Villages in central Florida, the largest retirement community in the world. Pitched as a literal fountain of youth complete with precision golf cart drills, pickleball rallies and singles mixers. It’s a chance for retirees to live the American Dream in their golden years, but debut director Lance Oppenheim’s quirky and insightful documentary picks beneath the surface to find that one person’s paradise can be another’s burden.
Married nearly 50 years, Anne and Reggie seem like a normal couple, but The Villages’ cookie-cutter lifestyle awakens Reggie’s rebelliousness, leading him to explore Eastern spiritualism and experiment in drug use. Meanwhile 81-year-old ladies’ man Dennis lives out of his van and must evade security as he searches for a “classic looking” widow to take him in. Barbara is looking for a more meaningful relationship after having recently lost the love of her life, but is a dashing golf cart salesman really the answer?
Taking inspiration from the photography of Larry Sultan and the Technicolor sheen of Douglas Sirk’s melodramas, Oppenheim opts for a vibrant visual style that accentuates the absurdity of this manufactured utopia. — Michael McDonnell
“Those nostalgic for the fond portraits of eccentric Americana in Errol Morris’ early work – and pretty much everyone else – will be delighted by Some Kind of Heaven… Everything... in this lively, colorful production is pleasing, amplifying a general tenor that’s good-humored yet never condescending to the people onscreen.” — Dennis Harvey, Variety
About the Filmmaker
Lance Oppenheim is a filmmaker from South Florida. He graduated from Harvard University’s visual and environmental studies programme in 2019. Some Kind of Heaven is his debut feature.