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Critics' Pick Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory

Movie Details

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Date: 2014-07-18 NY
  • Running Time: 74 min.
  • Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett
  • Cast: Dan Cohen
  • Producers: Michael Rossato-Bennett, Alexandra McDougald
  • Writers: Michael Rossato-Bennett, George Strayton
  • Distributor: BOND/360
  • Official Site: Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory Official Site

Practically guaranteed to elicit tears within its first five minutes, Alive Inside -- a documentary about activist Dan Cohen's attempts to get nursing homes to use music as a part of their care regimen for those afflicted with dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's diseases -- is nonetheless more than just a tearjerker. Opening with clips of an unwell elderly woman and man becoming rejuvenated, physically and mentally, after listening to the favorite songs of their youth, director Michael Rossato-Bennett's moving film argues music's therapeutic value on slowly deteriorating minds. This treatment is the brainchild of Cohen, whose Music & Memory non-profit organization advocates such methods as a way to not only relight the spark of senior citizens cast into mental darkness but also -- by functioning as an at-home alternative to pharmaceutical medication -- to help alleviate an increasingly overly burdened health care system. That latter argument is far from thoroughly (or convincingly) laid out. Yet Rossato-Bennett's footage of confused and/or comatose older people being euphorically reinvigorated by songs on Cohen's iPod compellingly conveys how music -- so intimately wedded to our emotions, and experiences -- can help the severely ill elderly reconnect with themselves.

Nick Schager

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