Pin It
Favorite

Take Two 

Young@Heart & r & & r & by MARYANN JOHANSON & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & "I & lt;/span & 'm never gonna complain about being too old and too tired again!" exclaims a young woman -- well, one a good deal younger than 80, at least -- in Young@Heart. She's just seen a performance by the Young at Heart Chorus, a gang of octogenarians who tour America and Europe belting out rock 'n' roll songs, and she's absolutely right: No matter what your age, you cannot come away from this charming and inspiring documentary without vowing never, never to give up on life.





And actually, 80 is merely the average age of the members of Young at Heart, which means that some of them are younger than that ... which means that some of them are barely older than, say, Keith Richards or Paul McCartney, whose songs are exactly the kind of thing the chorus would perform, in their own uniquely harmonic way. Which becomes an ironic undertone to British documentarian Steven Walker's theme: that "age" -- in that euphemistic way the word is used to mean "decrepitly ancient" -- is all a matter of perspective. We might allow ourselves some shock when smacked in the face with exactly how advanced in years some of our legendary rockers have gotten, but it seems like a stretch to call them "elderly." So why do we apply the term to others?





Walker explains that he attended a Young at Heart concert in England and was so enraptured with the Massachusetts-based group that he was moved to make a film about them. Originally destined for British TV, Young@Heart has a kind of cozy television quality to it: It plays like a human-interest news report, with Walker's own enchanted narration betraying an utter lack of journalistic distance ... and thank God for that. He's in love with these people. Eileen, 92, an absolute pip and an incorrigible flirt, enjoys belting out songs by the likes of Coldplay and Sonic Youth because it "keeps her brain going." (The film opens with her performance of the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" -- and I challenge anyone to resist singing along with her.) Bob, who prefers opera and classical music, takes on the Talking Heads' "Life During Wartime" and James Brown tunes because, he says, "I'm trying to expand my horizons."





Bob Cilman, the chorus's director -- himself a mere child in his early 50s -- is a bit of a taskmaster, the chorus seems to agree, and they're not always thrilled with the songs he chooses for them. (For much of the film, they're struggling to conquer Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia") But Cilman, too, is a wonder, refusing to give in to the all-too-prevalent attitude that the elderly must be babied and coddled. He pushes them to push themselves and they're happy to comply.





Of course, the Young at Heartsters are of a certain age, and no one here denies that: not Cilman, not the singers, not Walker. As the film reaches its climax, two former members of the chorus return after long illnesses to perform at a special performance. It soon becomes clear that there's a point beyond which the mind, no matter how willing, cannot keep up with the body. So there's sadness here: Do what ya gotta do, because your days are numbered. But even that kind of sadness cannot dent the joy of Young@Heart. (Rated PG)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event

Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event @ Hillyard Library

Tue., Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


marijuana


Comment


Publisher's Note


BUSINESS


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation