Young @ Heart (Young at Heart) parents guide

Young @ Heart (Young at Heart) Parent Guide

Overall B+

Young @ Heart is a documentary that does its best to demonstrate that getting old doesn't mean giving up. It tells the back-stage story of a group of singers whose average age is 80 years old, yet they use every once of energy they possess to appear on stage and sing popular music ranging from James Brown through to U2 and Coldplay.

Release date April 8, 2008

Violence A
Sexual Content B-
Profanity B-
Substance Use B

Why is Young @ Heart (Young at Heart) rated PG? The MPAA rated Young @ Heart (Young at Heart) PG for some mild language and thematic elements.

Parent Movie Review

In a society obsessed with youth, achievement and perfection, Young @ Heart is an engaging reminder that unless you check out early, aging is an inevitable part of life. But doing it with spark and spunk is preferable!

The documentary introduces a musical group started in 1982 at housing project for the elderly in Northampton, MA. While none of the original performers are still with the cast, Bob Cilman, the choir’s demanding conductor and the Executive Director of the Northampton Arts Council, is still pushing the current participants to take on new and often challenging musical styles, including songs from the alternative rock band Sonic Youth and soul singer James Brown.

Young @ Heart begins a little slowly. Yet what can you expect when you’re dealing with a group of entertainers whose average age is 80. There are also a few uncomfortable moments when the film feels like it’s laughing at the individuals rather than with them. However, once the introductions are made, this lively society of seniors dispels any myths about resigning themselves to the number of birthdays under their belts. These singers, though not always pitch perfect, are flirty, feisty, inspirational and passionate about what they do.

At the film’s start, the songsters, whose backgrounds are as varied as is their musical training, are receiving seven new titles to rehearse. From those, Cilman will pick the best ones to be performed at the group’s next show entitled “Alive and Well”. Already the group has performed around the world, for royalty, commoners and even the imprisoned. The numbers are met with mixed reviews. Yet to their credit and Cilman’s persistence, they slog through the pieces. As the concert date nears, it’s evident that not all of the melodies will be flawless, but that doesn’t dampen the tunesters’s resolve to put on a great performance.

One of the most poignant moments comes when former choir member Fred Knittle returns after a lengthy hiatus caused by heart problems. Accompanied by the choir and the pulsing swoosh of his oxygen tank, he croons out a heartfelt baritone tribute to two recently deceased members. At that moment, the depth of the camaraderie in the chorus line is palpable.

Unfortunately, the documentary doesn’t keep pace with the performers from a technical perspective. It is also afflicted with a few profanities, some passing sexual comments and brief depiction of alcohol use. As well, the script also neglects to address Cilman’s motivation for starting the group.

However, despite these technical issues, and chorus members’ bouts of cancer, congestive heart failure, and creaky bones, this spirited cover band manages to steal the show without missing a beat.

Starring Bob Cilman. Theatrical release April 8, 2008. Updated

Young @ Heart (Young at Heart)
Rating & Content Info

Why is Young @ Heart (Young at Heart) rated PG? Young @ Heart (Young at Heart) is rated PG by the MPAA for some mild language and thematic elements.

Relatively free of content concerns, this script does include infrequent profanities and the depiction of some alcohol use. An elderly gentleman comments on his sexual prowess with his younger girlfriend. Other brief sexual comments are also included.

Page last updated

Young @ Heart (Young at Heart) Parents' Guide

What impact does membership in this group appear to have for these senior citizens? What benefits does the choir offer? What can be learned from these performers about aging well?

How does the singer’s willingness to try new things affect their view of the world around them? How does it help them relate to younger generations?

Visit the Young @ Heart home page at and view an interview with Bob Cilman at

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Young @ Heart (Young at Heart) movie is September 16, 2008. Here are some details…

Young @ Heart sings its way onto DVD with the following chorus of bonus extras: a selection of deleted scenes (including Fred’s Eulogy), the featurette Young @ Heart Goes to Hollywood, and three music videos (Road To Nowhere, Stayin’ Alive, and I Will Survive). Audio tracks are available in Dolby Surround 5.1 (English) and Dolby Surround (English and Spanish), with subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Related home video titles:

Music also changes the lives of some inner-city fifth graders when they are introduced to dancing in Mad Hot Ballroom. A teacher at a school for troubled boys uses the magic of notes and lyrics to tame his pupils in the French film The Chorus.