By Dan Clendenin
This 77-minute documentary tells the inspiring story of a social worker named Dan Cohen, who several years ago volunteered in a nursing home in order to connect elderly residents with dementia with the music of their youth. The results were remarkable. With the help of an iPod and a personalized play list, he'd place ear phones on people, play a tune from their youth, and it was like someone threw a switch. The movie tells the stories of a dozen or so patients, with running commentary by professionals like the neurologist Oliver Sacks (cf. his book Musicophilia). It's anecdotal and not narrowly scientific, but something in the music fired the minds and memories of these people. A snippet of one of Cohen's patients (94-year-old Henry) went viral on the internet (7 million views), and in 2014 this film won the audience award at Sundance. Today Cohen's foundation (Music and Memory) has brought the gift of new life through music to over 650 nursing homes. I watched this film on Netflix Streaming.