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Some Kind of Heaven
by Karen Pecota

America's largest retirement community in Central Florida known as The Villages is the subject matter filmmaker Lance Oppenheim chooses to showcase in his latest documentary Some Kind of Heaven. Often referred to as the 'Disneyland for Retirees', The Villages offers those in their golden years the chance to live in a visually esthetic and perfectly groomed retirement city beyond comparison. It's the crème de la crème! It's home to over 130,000 seniors and offers a utopian environment of what this age group recalls as America's good-ol’-days--wide, safe streets, perfectly manicured lawns and countless activities.

The majority of residents in this community have bought into this lifestyle hook, line, and sinker and would admit they think it's the greatest thing since 'sliced bread'. Oppenheim heard the same talk, thus the reason he was thrilled to make a film about this unique utopian world. One of the residents commented, "You come here to live, not to pass away!" Another said, "When you come here it's like going off to college." He soon realized when he began to interview the residents a different story lurked behind the perfectly-happy facade.

It was clear to Oppenheim there were residents who were living on the fringes and struggling to find the happiness told to them that the community would afford. The four residents Oppenheim featured in Some Kind of Heaven each have a unique story which made his storytelling of living in a fantasy world both heartbreaking and endearing. Barbara, a widow; Dennis, a bachelor; and married couple Anne and Reggie are all trying to find their place in a very foreign world.

Oppenheim reveals that no matter what our age we are forever changing and hopefully maturing. The real question of happiness is, what will we choose to do with the changes that occur?