6.3/10
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13 user 17 critic

How to Live Forever (2009)

Not Rated | | Documentary | October 2009 (USA)
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Baby boomer Mark Wexler travels the world searching for the secrets of long life.

Director:

Mark Wexler

Writers:

Robert DeMaio (narration written by), Mark Wexler (narration written by)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Suzanne Somers ... Herself
Phyllis Diller ... Herself
Ray Bradbury ... Himself
Jack LaLanne ... Himself
Shigeo Tokuda Shigeo Tokuda ... Himself
Willard Scott ... Himself
Jonathan Gold ... Himself
Elaine LaLanne Elaine LaLanne ... Herself
Marianne Williamson Marianne Williamson ... Herself
Raymond Kurzweil ... Himself
Tyrus Wong ... Himself
Aubrey de Grey Aubrey de Grey ... Himself
Marge Jetton Marge Jetton ... Herself
Mordecai Finley Mordecai Finley ... Himself
Edna Parker Edna Parker ... Herself
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Storyline

Director Mark Wexler embarks on a worldwide trek to investigate just what it means to grow old and what it could mean to really live forever. But whose advice should he take? Does a chain-smoking, beer-drinking centenarian marathoner have all the answers? What about an elder porn star? Wexler contrasts these unusual characters with the insights of health, fitness and life-extension experts in his engaging new documentary, which challenges our notions of youth and aging with comic poignancy. Begun as a study in life-extension, HOW TO LIVE FOREVER evolves into a thought-provoking examination of what truly gives life meaning. Written by Anonymous

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Taglines:

*Results May Vary See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 2009 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,716, 15 May 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$58,764, 11 September 2011
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Wexler's World See more »
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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
How to Live Forever? Yes!
14 June 2012 | by lmarin-396-480212See all my reviews

From director Mark Wexler I expected funny and entertaining and quirky. "How to Live Forever" is so much more than that. From the very first scene, in which Wexler goes to visit Edna Parker, the oldest living person at 115, we are aware that the dark, devolution of aging will subtend whatever else the film promises to offer on the longevity front. Edna appears beyond this world, her tiny frame wrapped in a gauzy robe and propped in her wheelchair. Her sunken eyes remain expressionless as the cheery nursing home staff loudly announces Wexler's visit. She is unmoved by his friendly display of interest in her. We can't help but feel the discomfort of their disconnect. What is actually happening here? Might it be nothing more than voyeurism? Right when discomfort gets to be the main character, the scene shifts. Over and over the film proceeds this way, cutting from one speaker to another just after we begin to squirm, or laugh, or sink, or cry.

You can't just watch "How to Live Forever" because the very topic requires participation. Wexler transparently models our assumptions, defenses, and uncertainties about the unassailable fact of our own demise. We can keep a distance perhaps when he's being gingerly hoisted into a casket by a "body scoop" demonstrated at a Las Vegas morticians' trade show (he's a corpse with a little smile), but his furtive measurement of midriff flab in a fast bathroom scene, or his earnest queries at a San Francisco Brain Gym lend a disarming intimacy to the wealth of attitudes and info the film presents us.

Inevitably we are drawn in by the diversity and richness of the film's speakers—each is presented with a ticker counting up his/her age—and their particular cultural and historical contexts. I hope to remember forever the story of Jeanne Calment, the French woman who took up fencing at 85, long before she died at 122, and the film's poster boy, Buster Martin, who at 101 is doing the London marathon, smoking, drinking, and making hit rock band recordings, and especially Eleanor Wasson, my favorite, who at age 100 beautifully articulates her lifelong work for peace in the context of such diverse accomplishments as flying ferry ships in World War II and writing a book entitled "Twenty Eight Thousand Martinis," based on her personal practice of drinking one martini a day. Of course there are lots of luminaries here too, and they each offer a provocative angle—John Robbins, Marianne Williamson, Jack LaLanne (my other favorite), Suzanne Somers, Ray Bradbury—as do people on the street who respond to the question "If there was a pill to live for 500 years, would you take it?" As for the philosophical questions the film raises--Is the quest for longevity just 21st century narcissism? Will nanobots interacting with humans neurologically deliver us to the theater of radical life extension? Will the creation of the ageless society dwarf the age of the computer? to name just a few—"How to Live Forever" is full and fast paced enough to give us a sense of the possibilities, if not the answers. For this reason I suspect I'll be drawn to watch this film many more times. An added pleasure is the soundtrack, which is beautifully matched to the sequences, never overly obvious but always nuanced and compelling. And finally the haunting credit art, by Wexler's mother, Marian, is especially poignant. But you'll have to see the film to find out why.


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