The Villages in Florida is the United States’ largest retirement community. With incredible amenities and an upbeat lifestyle, they are known as the “Disneyworld of Retirement Communities.” There’s a drill team, belly dancing, synchronized swimming, and even their very own Parrot Head (Jimmy Buffet fans) group In the new documentary Some Kind of Heaven, Director Lance Oppenheim goes behind the perfect façade to get the real story. There’s the story of a man living out of his van who regularly comes into the community to try to find a wealthy older woman, but who bathes at the pool facilities and hides his van so his DUI from California doesn’t catch up with him. There’s a woman exploring her options with befriending a local man after realizing she’ll never be able to afford to go back to Massachusetts. There’s also a couple with legal trouble, when the husband is caught with marijuana and cocaine by the police. The man doesn’t really take it seriously and is more into tail chi and discussing how this world is all an illusion than listening to his wife when she tells him how to communicate with a judge.
What Some Kind of Heaven shows is a group of moderately healthy middle class older white people who are struggling to find meaning and pull the very best of their remaining lives. The documentary is well-structured and beautifully filmed, but in a time with COVID-19, epic job losses, and political unrest, their problems feel…well pretty ordinary. A few of the people in this documentary feel worthy of some empathy, but for the most part it just feels empty. Still, the film is definitely worth a watch and is an interesting look into life after retirement.
Some Kind of Heaven comes to select theaters and on demand January 15, 2021.