Max Schellenberg makes things click for Shura Eadie.
CYBER-SENIORS (Saffron Cassaday). 74 minutes. Opens Friday (May 30). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NN
Prompted by a high school project launched by director Saffron Cassaday's siblings, this good-natured doc chronicles the efforts of some exceedingly patient youngsters to bring "the magic in the internet" to assorted elders in their community. The result is about what you'd imagine... or less. There's little to justify a feature-length theatrical release instead of a PSA.
Cassaday claims in the opening of Cyber-Seniors that she wants to explore the project's implications, yet for starters, she never moves beyond comfortable boundaries of class and race. For a film made in Toronto, the absence of colour is startling. Touching as it is to see seniors connect with loved ones via Skype or social media, the impact of the digital-age generation gap is surely greater on seniors living with limited resources or other challenges.
The film's strongest assets are the stories and personalities of its genuinely inspiring and charismatic elderly subjects, but individual profiles are cursory. Cassaday shoehorns an alarming family heath crisis into the narrative, but this has little bearing on the film as a whole.
The project she documents is laudable, but the investigation mostly settles for cute oldster YouTube material and easy sentiment.