“Young@Heart” is Steven Walker’s documentary about a New England senior citizens’ performance chorus singing its way into uncharted musical territory. Stated simply, rock music may never be the same.

This is not the typical choir by any means, and once you factor in that the average age of its members is 80, it becomes truly unique. You haven’t heard the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash until you have heard it belted from the pipes of the Young @ Heart Chorus. Sorry Ramones, it seems they have outdone “I Wanna Be Sedated” as well.

Maybe it is the inspiration the chorus gives its listeners that makes them so popular, or maybe it is the sheer entertainment value of watching a few dozen people light up a stage with their energy. Whichever the case, you will not come away from this film untouched (the tissues glued to the audiences’ eyes and the audible sniffling throughout the theater was testament to that).

Throughout the documentary, you get to know the choir members though personal segments where they uncandidly talk about life and what singing means to them. They are all extremely passionate about what they do, and it is clear that the choir provides a place for members to express their still-vital attitudes for life. To them, singing popular punk and rock tunes “expands their horizons.”

This film is jam-packed with hilarious moments. It is laugh-out-loud funny to watch their reactions when they learn they have to sing Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia” (skeptical to say the least) or when the soloist of James Brown’s “I Got You” howls, “OOW! I FEEL GOOD!” into the microphone at maximum volume.

At the start of the film it seems there is nothing that can bring down the morale of the group (or the audience), but as the storyline progresses we are inevitably interrupted by life’s harsh realities.

Over the course of the film, two members face life-threatening health complications and the cameras keep rolling, showing the group’s reaction to the difficult time. The documentary becomes more than just a typical heartwarming tale. It transforms into a picture of human nature, presented in its most urgent form: life and death. A solo of Coldplay’s “Fix You” by a retired member of the chorus is perfected during this time, providing the backdrop for the somber turn the film takes.

While the Young @ Heart Chorus radiates exuberance toward life, it cannot be denied that due to the advanced age of the members, death is a real possibility. The magic of the film is witnessing the resilience the members apply to the notion of dying. They can either choose to sit around and act “old,” or they can live it up for as long as they still can. To them, age really is only a number.

Aside from their dedication to living life to the fullest, they are most dedicated to the chorus. Not even a visit to the hospital takes one man’s vigor away.

Their director is tough on them and pushes them to be the best they can be. Any notion that the “elderly” should be babied flies out the window.

This film transitions quickly between periods of glee and times of turmoil. Comic relief, however, is always on standby in the form of various music videos the group performs. Look out for “Road to Nowhere,” a true crowd pleaser.

While the songs themselves may not warrant a Grammy nomination, it cannot be denied that the Young @ Heart Chorus’s love for music outshines its technical performance.

This film may be comprised of primarily elderly people aged 70 or older, but it will inspire any age to appreciate life, love, and the power of music. Just don’t leave your tissues at home.

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