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Recommended age 12-18
45 minutes
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SOME KIND OF HEAVEN cover image Click to play video trailer
This documentary is very interesting. It has the best cinematography I've ever seen in a documentary and it covers quite a serious subject with respect.

This documentary follows four residents of The Villages, a massive retirement home in Florida - Anne and Reggie, a married couple; Barbara, a widow; and Dennis, a man who doesn't actually live at The Villages. Anne struggles with her marriage, due to Reggie's drug addiction and worsening mental health. Barbara's husband died four months before filming and she is nervous about dating again. Dennis lives in his van, and hangs around The Villages in hopes of finding a wealthy woman in his last few years.

Before this film, I had never heard of The Villages. I found the story of its residents fascinating. The Villages is often referred to as "The Disneyworld for Retirees," and when you hear that, you imagine a perfect place to spend the later part of your life. The problem with utopias is that they're basically impossible. And the goal of the film is to showcase that The Villages is not a perfect utopia. It follows the struggles of these four people and how they can't just escape their pain with tennis or acting classes. One thing I like about this film is that it doesn't come off as malicious. It's not trying to expose The Villages for being a place of fake happiness or mock the residents or anything like that. Instead I got the impression that the director wanted to tell a story about real people trying to cope with their problems and I can respect that.

The cinematography is one of the stand-out aspects of this film. Every shot looks staged, as if they were from a typical fiction movie. There's a surprising amount of close-ups for a documentary. It was to the point that I didn't actually believe I was watching a documentary at first. I'm very impressed with the cinematography - shout-out to David Bolen, the cinematographer.

There is a lot to learn from this film. Life is full of pain and struggles; and, as sad as it may sound, that's inescapable. It's impossible to always be happy, even in the utopic Disney World for Retirees.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It comes out January 15, 2021.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

see youth comments
Behind the gates of a palm tree-lined fantasyland, four residents of America's largest retirement community, The Villages, FL, strive to find solace and meaning.
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