Alive Inside, a documentary film being shown in selected theaters across the U.S., tells the story of a social worker using iPods and personalized playlists to bring new life to nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s.
Dan Cohen puts together playlists of music from when the patients were young, transfers them to an iPod and then plays them to patients who had been unresponsive to conversation, generating dramatic transformations, reports Re/code.
Audiences first encounter Henry hunched over in his wheelchair, head down, hands clasped firmly together, unresponsive to the world around him.
As soon as a pair of headphones are placed on his head, the 94-year-old dementia patient opens his eyes, sits up straight and begins swaying and humming along with the music. Henry speaks animatedly about his favorite band leader, Cab Calloway, and even begins to emulate the jazz artist’s style of scat singing — at one point launching into a rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
Cohen discovered that music tapped into parts of the brain that could not be reached in other ways, and could revitalize people even in late-stage dementia, “demonstrating music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.”
Described as “a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity,” Alive Inside won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Apple is reportedly helping to promote the film, and a list of theaters where the film can be seen is available here.
But, overall, jOBS works. The lead actors are likable and appear to have put serious effort into getting the spirit of the characters right. The film looks (mostly) good aside from some of what could likely be ascribed to budgetary constraints. And though the director is a tad indulgent here and there, it doesn’t take away from the overall feeling of ‘decent’ that I came away with.
This isn’t going to be the canonical Steve Jobs biography movie. Honestly, Jobs was such a complex individual that I can’t see one ever being made. But, as an impressionist portrait of a specific period in his life, it’s successful. Don’t go into it looking for complete verisimilitude or whip-crack dialog and you should like it just fine.
My primary disappointment was in how shallow the film felt, given the extensive historical record. In the early days Jobs’ co-workers had to wrestle with a man who smelled bad, who cried often, who yelled constantly, who missed deadlines, who overspent his budget by millions. He did it in service of products we love and use daily, and yet his obsessions took a toll on those around him. It also inspired others to do the best work of their lives, pushing themselves further than they ever imagined they can go. There is great drama to be found in all that, but it is not to be found in the saccharine “jOBS.”
Kutcher says that he started a fruit-only diet to prepare to play the Apple co-founder for the biopic Jobs, which premiered Friday night at the Sundance Film Festival.
The diet, which the film claims Jobs adhered to, ended up sending Kutcher to the hospital with pancreas problems.
“First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to like severe issues,” Kutcher said after the film’s screening. “I went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was like doubled over in pain.
“My pancreas levels were completely out of whack,” Kutcher added. “It was really terrifying … considering everything.[Jobs died as the result of Pancreatic Cancer]”