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Directed by Stephen Walker

British filmmaker, Stephen Walker, admits in the first few moments of YOUNG @ HEART that he fell in love instantly with the Massachusetts chorus of the same name the first time he saw them perform. He wasn’t lying. He loved them so much that he followed them around for seven weeks to document their rehearsal process and then edited his footage into a television documentary. As if that wasn’t enough love, he has now remade his documentary for theatrical audiences.

While Walker’s admiration may seem to border on obsession, it isn’t hard to see why the group inspired him so deeply. Young @ Heart is no ordinary singing chorus. The average age of the members is 81 and they don’t sing traditional hymns but rather punk classics by The Clash or contemporary rock ballads by Coldplay. A rigorous rehearsal schedule of three sessions a week and hours of private practice culminating in a full two act evening performance to a sold out concert hall would be demanding for trained professionals in their prime. These folks make it all look so easy but that certainly doesn’t mean it is as death is always lurking backstage. The whole thing certainly gives new meaning to lyrics like, “Should I stay or should I go?”

Though your heart goes out to the entire Young @ Heart chorus, Walker regrettably fails to inspire his audience the way the chorus does theirs. Ironically, his youth as a filmmaker undermines the experience, inciting only a hearty applause when there was clearly a standing ovation to be had.

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