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By Eric Campos | February 27, 2005

“Sunset Story” offers a touching look at the residents of a special retirement home in Los Angeles. Makes “Cocoon” come off like a silly sci-fi flick…wait a minute…
Sunset Hall is a unique kind of retirement home, the kind of place that encourages freethinking and progressive activities that go beyond afternoon bingo and watching game shows on the boob tube. Sunset Hall is a comfy little community where elderly political radicals go to spend their twilight years in the good hands of the caring staff. Those that are able go out and join picket lines at the protests of their choosing, while others opt to stay inside and take part in debates with the other residents, some of which have some difficulty staying awake during a discussion.
But rather than probe the minds of each and every one of these aging radicals, director Laura Gabbert focuses on Irja and Lucille, a couple of female residents who met at Sunset Hall and became best of friends. Through their relationship and their lively conversations, we’re shown a completely different side to the whole retirement home story.
“Sunset Story” reveals that the retirement home, at least this one, provides a bright and cheerful place for the elderly to live rather than a pit where nearly dead bodies are tossed to rot. This well-crafted documentary shows us that getting old isn’t all that terrible; it’s all about the company you keep and how you maintain an exercised brain.

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