There are some films that you need to see in theaters, and Young @ Heart is one of them. I’m not the kind of guy who cries, but if I wore mascara my face would have been a mess during this great feel good movie. I’m curious if this show has any impact on those are are currently young of body, but I think any middle-aged person will find this story of the oldest rock-and-roll cover band to be uplifting and inspire great reflection about dealing with getting old themselves.
This is a little story about a chorus of old people who don’t give up no matter what, even when two of their own die in one week, and their little revue gets an emotional jet assisted take-off by being seen on the big screen in the dark theater. I never admired wrinkly-old-people more, because this tribe of oldsters rocked out and kicked my ass when it comes to living and gumption. At Rotten Tomatoes its rated 87%, and I’ve got to figure that other 13% of reviewers are Dead @ Heart.
Sure these old farts would get the boot from Simon and the American Idol tribunal, but songs like Coldplay’s “Fix You” was totally owned by a really fat old guy with an oxygen breather in tow. On the big screen, the lyrics of these songs were totally showcased in a way that made them sound far more meaningful than when sung as anthems to the young. “Road to Nowhere” by the The Talking Heads and “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones took on whole new meanings.
I’m listening to Coldplay sing “Fix You” right now and it just doesn’t have the impact it did in the movie. But I now admire the lyrics all the more. I’m reminded of another movie about music I saw a few weeks ago, Once, and how the songs just don’t translate with the same impact off the screen without being able to see the tortured faces who were singing words that matched their expressions.
I can imagine some viewers thinking that all of this is camp, or stupid oldster tricks, but I found the ancient ones hard core for getting up and doing things I’ve been too scared to do all my life. Janis and I sat up close and I think seeing these little people on the big screen magnified the issues of standing every day with Mr. Death in the room.
I think Young @ Heart had major impact with me because I’ve been around a lot of dying people in recent years, and I can read much more into the scenes than the film maker really worked to show. The more you know about pain, suffering, deteriorating bodies and death, the more real this movie becomes. Unless you have some inkling of what it takes to make such an effort late in life, then you’ll not truly get this film. It might be fun and a lot of laughs but you’ll miss the Sigmund Freud lessons.
It’s one thing to rock in your teens, that’s fucking easy man, it’s a whole other thing to rock out when you’re in your eighties and nineties. I think I’ll go play Mr. Young’s “Hey, Hey, My My (Into the Black).” I’ve got to keep remembering those lessons.
[Here are a handful of YouTube clips to give you an idea, but they don't work like being at the theater.]