Alive Inside

July 18th, 2014


Alive Inside

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Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music's ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.

Release Year: 2014

Rating: 8.5/10 (60 voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett

Stars: Dan Cohen, Louise Dueno, Norman Hardie

As dementia continues to affect millions of elderly Americans, Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory reveals a remarkable, music-based breakthrough that has already transformed lives. Spearheaded by social worker Dan Cohen and captured on camera over the course of three years by filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett, we learn that songs from a patient's past can awaken memories and emotions that have been asleep for years, sometimes decades. Within a moment of hearing "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys, Alzheimer's patient Marylou jolts back to life, dancing around the living room and expressing a euphoria her husband hasn't witnessed since her illness took effect. Countless instances in Alive Inside provide proof that music stimulates activity in dementia-affected parts of the brain and transforms the quality of life of those often left to languish in silence. Through revealing conversations with renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin, as well as powerful firsthand...

Writers: Michael Rossato-Bennett, George Strayton

Dan Cohen - Himself
Louise Dueno - Herself
Norman Hardie - Himself
Michael Rossato-Bennett - Himself
Yvonne Russell - Herself
Oliver Sacks - Himself
Bill Thomas - Himself
Doug Thompson - Himself
Mary Lou Thompson - Herself
Connie Tomiano - Herself
Peter Whitehouse - Himself


Official Website: Official Facebook | Official site |

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 18 July 2014

Filming Locations: New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $600,000 (estimated)

Technical Specs


User Review


Rating: 10/10

What if there were a truly inexpensive way to materially improve the lives of Alzheimer's sufferers and those who have other forms of dementia? If you see "Alive Inside," you will discover that there is such a thing. All it takes is an Apple iPod and the right music--music from the person's past. The music makes a connection with portions of the brain least ravaged by neurological disorders and it connects with the person that's still alive inside. Really alive.

This film shows you the proof, over and over again. The demonstration of the power of music from a person's past being able to bring the person into the present seems irrefutable. It is miraculous but you won't believe unless you see the film.

To think that a $40 music player and headphones can do what drugs cannot is mindblowing. The music doesn't necessarily extend a person's life the way drugs do, but it does awaken the person. Patient after patient shown in this movie awakens as the camera watches. The effects and the repeatability are positively stunning.

This film is about to go into limited distribution. It will be showing in San Jose at the Camera 7 theater starting August 8. Please find a way to see this film. It will change lives.

We saw this movie as part of the San Jose Camera Cinema Club and it was one of the most moving films we've seen through this organization.


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