Start Writing
Henry and his music - Alive Inside

Alive Inside shows us the sheer power of music (IDFA Review)

burnsting burnsting Editor-in-chief What if you could bring someone back to life with just music? What if it enabled you to connect to a loved one, you weren't able to connect to for years. Now music doesn't have the power to resurrect people (as far as I know), but as Alive Inside shows, it comes damn close.

Best of Fests #IDFA 2014

The Power of Music

We've all experienced what music can do. It can cheer you up when you are down. It can bring together and unite people. Or it can simply make you hum along without noticing. And if Alive Inside teaches us anything, it's that music can be even more powerful than most of us imagined.

Alzheimer's Disease Patient happy with her music player - Al
Alzheimer's Disease Patient happy with her music player - Alive Inside

Alive Inside follows Dan Cohen (founder of Music & Memory) as he tries to get as many music players into nursing homes as he can. But these organizations have always used drugs as a solution to the problems these elderly are having, like depression or anger. And getting some budget for a cheap music player turns out to be a lot more difficult than expected.


Why you would want to give a music player to someone with Alzheimer's disease for example, is proven over and over in the film. One guy in particular, Henry, speaks volumes about the benefit of music. Normally he just sits around all day with his head down, not able to have a conversation with anyone really. But when Dan comes by and puts a headphone on with music from his youth, he lights up like a miracle just took place.

Even with the headphone off, the brain seems to stay active. Henry recalls and sings several songs everyone thought he had long forgotten — it doesn't hurt he has quite a beautiful voice either.

Henry gets his music player in Alive Inside
Henry gets his music player in Alive Inside

Making a connection

In that regard Alive Inside is about more than music and dementia. It's about making a connection with loved ones you weren't able to connect to for years. And with that in mind, it's a film that reaches for the heart instead of the brain.

But while everyone understands music is not the end-all solution, anyone with a heart and a brain can see the benefit of music for these people. Because what if a simple music player can be more beneficial than the dozens of expensive pills they get every day? What if this is actually the last joy we can give them?

Bringing music players to Alzheimer's patients in Alive Insi

Posted in Alive Inside,

burnsting burnsting Editor-in-chief

read more or join