I love learning. I love watching television shows that take you behind the scenes on how things are made. And I love watching documentaries that teach you something new.
When I decided to watch How to Live Forever, a documentary by filmmaker Mark Wexler, I wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to see it. I have no desire to live forever. I don’t want to be 115 years old in a nursing home being given an award simply because I outlasted everyone else. If I’m going to live forever, I want it to be at the age that I feel my best, so I can travel, learn more and help others. Living longer has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages.
This documentary can be described like that, too. It has its advantages and its disadvantages. After Wexler’s mom dies, he embarks on a journey to find out what the magic answer is and why Edna Parker, at the time the oldest living American, lived to such a ripe old age.
Wexler explores our negative perceptions about getting older and our desire to make it stop, including our increasing use of Botox, plastic surgery and Viagra. He interviews actress Suzanne Somers, comedienne Phyllis Diller, a 101-year-old chain smoking marathon runner, and author Marianne Williamson, as well as Jack LaLanne, hoping that all the answers will provide him with the recipe to living longer.
He explores what’s new in funeral arrangements (which would’ve been more appropriate if he was exploring death, not living) and tours a cryogenic vault where people are frozen in liquid nitrogen, hoping that a cure for what they died from awaits at a later time to bring them back to life.
The interviews are intriguing, and Wexler has a good concept behind this documentary. I just don’t think there’s anything new here. LaLanne says exercise is the key, while others say it’s olive oil, wine and chocolate. The chain-smoker made me question if smoking would help me run faster when I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life. However, one interview with Eleanor Wasson, author of [amazon_link id=”097588140X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]28000 Martinis and Counting[/amazon_link] – a woman who looks much younger than her years – nudged me to check out her book on Amazon.
The documentary is interesting and includes 30 minutes of deleted scenes and extended interviews. However, I don’t really think there’s anything new here about youth, aging and longevity.