Join the Silver Belles, a group of five former Harlem showgirls now aged 84 to 96, as they continue to entertain in this documentary by Heather MacDonald. From dancing together in the hottest venues such as the Cotton Club to performing with world-renowned bandleaders Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington, the gallivanting gals were the toast of the town during the 1930s; in 1985, they renounced retirement and reunited to grace the stage once again.
I’ll give this documentary 3 out of 5 stars. Netflix guessed that I’d rate it at 4.2 stars so they missed by a bit. Michelle fell asleep half way through it. I’m not sure whether she slept through it from boredom or from being a busy mother of 3 children. Either way, it wasn’t engaging enough to keep her awake. Michelle did make one good observation before she dozed off. She said it’s neat to watch these older ladies enjoying the world in new, exciting ways and seeing it with fresh eyes. It really may be worth watching just for that perspective.
The film is lively and humor-filled, sparkling with the verve and candor of these inspiring women. We follow them from their rehearsals at the Cotton Club, to their shows — and over the bumps in between. They perform to standing ovations at concert halls around the city, working with dancers some 60 years younger. We enjoy their weekly rehearsals, their love of their craft, the music, and the laughter and arguments of a friendship that has continued for over 70 years.
This documentary is worth renting on Netflix but probably isn’t worth purchasing. All in all, it was a neat story of staying young and enjoying the final season of life, which is a good lesson for all of us.