Saturday, November 15, 2008

You're Never Too Old to Rock

The title of this post is the tagline to the film Young @ Heart.

The Young at Heart chorus is brilliant, the film is brilliant, and it's not just because a chorus of 80 year olds get on a stage and sing songs by Sonic Youth, the Talking Heads and the Clash (though that's a plus). This documentary, and the Young at Heart chorus which it follows throughout, is a picture of life in aging. We so often speak of aging alongside death, and death is a reality in this film, but aging also offers life. It offers life to these octogenarians, and it offers life to twenty-somethings like me who watch the film and are reminded that life can be truly joyful, simply because it is life.

This is the best film I've seen about community since Lars and the Real Girl, and it is encouraging for someone like me, soon to become pastor to people of all ages. Young at Heart reminds me that people do not always fit well into the boxes we shove them into. It also reminds me that people who have shoved themselves into boxes can step out and find great meaning.

Yet it's a bit absurd. These folks don't listen to Coldplay and Alan Touissant, but their director does, and he knows that this choir can do great things with their songs. Are these people "cooler" because they sing "cool" songs? I think the answer is no, but that is what it has taken for folks like me to give them a chance. How absurd is it to say that I love this choir of 70-, 80- and 90-somethings because they have "indie cred"?

Really absurd, but if they didn't, I would never have heard them. It's a good reminder that I'm am pretentious and ridiculous.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this film is sad, and heartwrenchingly so. But it deserves a look. And in case you've never heard the Young at Heart chorus, here's a taste of one of their tame moments:

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