Alive Inside

Doc about the healing powers of music

Early in this doc, social worker Dan Cohen and filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett put a pair of headphones on a 94-year-old, nearly comatose dementia sufferer named Henry and play him some Cab Calloway. The result is stunning. He immediately perks up and starts singing. Other old folks react similarly.

So it’s a great idea to play these abandoned people their old music, and a $50 iPod is a lot cheaper than meds. Then it gets repetitious, the narration gets cloying, and it falls back on fundraising. This is a downer after Henry. And despite the filmmakers’ enthusiasm, this is not even a new idea. Japanese title: Personal Song. (78 min)