Sprawling across 30-plus miles, housing 115,000 people, featuring 12 golf courses, and countless restaurants—the Villages is the biggest 55+ retirement community in the world. It’s a ripe subject for a documentary treatment, and Lance Oppenheim’s Some Kind of Heaven use this central Florida enclave regularly nicknamed “Disneyland for Retirees” as a pretext for its subject matter.
A portrait of four residents looking for their own version of happiness within this community in the vein of Errol Morris, it’s less about this storied backdrop than how the many amenities and opportunities available intersect with these people’s hopes and dreams. There’s Anne and Reggie, a couple who are struggling with Reggie’s increasing dependence on psychedelics; Barbara, a widow who’s looking for second love; and Dennis, an 82-year-old bachelor living out a van and looking for a caretaker for his remaining years.
Our Sundance reviewer praised the formal approach, writing, “Using inspiration from Todd Haynes and Edward Scissorhands, Oppenheim portrays the suburban grounds with still camerawork, highlighting their staid, sickly-sweet nature. And his deft sound editing further enhances the first-person perspectives of his subjects.”
See the trailer and poster below.
Some Kind of Heaven opens in select theaters and digitally on January 15, 2021.