You know what they say about "growing old gracefully?" How about instead, "growing old passionately!"
My favorite movie of all time, the indie documentary, Young @ Heart, has indeed stolen my heart with it's cast of talented, vivacious, 80-something-plus year olds from Pennsylvania, and their tireless director.
My daughter, Mndy, picked it up at the video store because she'd never heard of it, it looked interesting, and she likes documentaries. We were totally unprepared for the excellent music, exhilarating humor, and the cast of colorful characters. No casting director could have come up with this bunch of oldies but goodies with a true joy for living.
The filmmaker first saw the chorus on their sold out European tour, and made a date to film them in America for seven weeks as they rehearsed for a big show. The filmmaker interviews three friends who car-pool to the chorus, one of whom is a ninety-three year old woman who she tells us did a strip-tease at 73. The driver is a retired fighter pilot who drives like he's still flying jets, and the third man is a stalwart of the chorus with an agile mind who can memorize all the words to a song in one afternoon. We get to see all of these three and a few others in their homes as well as in the chorus, and see what it is that keeps them overcoming the normal ravages of age to preform with this group. We get to see them as they are, sometimes grumpy, sometimes annoyed, making mistakes, and overcoming death and insane words to songs, knowing that "the show must go on."
The director of the chorus, with patience and impatience both, brings challenging songs and lyrics from rap to rock and roll. One of the professional musicians says in the special features (definately a DO NOT MISS part of this movie!), "I have played for many musicians, but with these singers, I really have heard the lyrics for the first time." There is something about the age and experience that this group brings to the stage that allows us to really hear what the composer and lyrisist is saying. There is a whole depth of meaning that comes out in all of their songs. We believe them as they do a video to "Stayin' Alive," or sing "Forever Young" to a group of prisoners.
I made everyone that came by my house watch it....no really you have to see this!....your other work, everything else, can wait...then I downloaded the sound track, and played it while the movers were lifting my double refrigerator over the kitchen countertop to install my new energy efficient stainless-steel refrigerator. The young guys liked it!
By the end of the movie, I felt such joy that the picture of old age is one that can be treasured and looked forward to, and can be filled with fun.