The key to my success? Clean living.

Theatrical Release Date: 06/03/2011
Director: Mark Wexler
Featuring Interviews with: Jack LaLanne, Aubrey de Grey, Suzanne Somers, Phyllis Diller, Raymond Kurzweil, Ray Bradbury
Rated: Not Rated by the MPAA
Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes


You wanna go a round, sonny?!

Do you want to live forever? And if not quite forever, would 150, 200, or 500 years be enough time on Earth for you curious folk who want to ‘live’ multiple lifetimes and examine as many facets of the human experience as possible?

Following the passing of his mother, director Mark Wexler became interested in looking at just that. What factors enable people to not only live longer lives, but also live them fully; without mental and physical challenges slowing them down? Is it diet? Is it exercise? Is it genetics? Will science provide the answers – via gene therapy, cryonics, or organ/tissue replacement?

All of these issues are given at least a glance within the documentary, from the perspective of everyday people on the street, scientists, celebrities, or Guinness world record holding centenarians. Audiences will see what therapies are being explored and communities in the world that are living longer lives because of their lifestyles/diets.

The celebrity factor is a bit overhyped in the trailer, though for marketing sake I suppose you have to do that. Jack LaLanne gets the most screen time, as Wexler goes and visits him at home, getting some exercise and diet tips while he’s there. A word of caution for fans of Ray Bradbury, Phyllis Diller, or Suzanne Somers: their names are more about getting you into the theater or being used as an example of a scientific avenue under investigation, than for giving any lengthy insight into their personal beliefs.

However, while Wexler is covering a lot of ground here, the hour and a half runtime simply isn’t enough to delve deeply into these subjects. And for those wondering about the family friendly nature of this doc, using a short segment on a Japanese senior now doing porn does add brief nudity to the table, which may rule this film out for younger audiences.

But while the research and facts behind the science don’t go into great detail, what makes the film interesting and entertaining are the interviews with a number of people well past 100 years of age who are still going strong (and putting many of us a fourth or fifth their age to shame).

The undisputed highlight comes in the 101 year old form of Buster. An English-man who happily smokes and drinks, he’s still working – cleaning vehicles for a plumbing company. And more amazingly, he runs marathons. As described in the film, he even ran one in which he took 5 stops … to have a pint and a smoke at each break. His feisty nature and foul mouth also add to his charm and this is a man I’d definitely buy a pint for if I ever made it out to England (and chances are, he’ll outlive me).

“How to Live Forever” is a competent documentary, when it comes to giving people any answers to the premise. However, what makes the experience entertaining and worthwhile are the interviews with some very fascinating people only the people at Guinness have really heard of to this point. As such, the film gets a 3 out of 5 and makes for a good audience pleaser but it won’t change too much in the way of your thinking or understanding of the quest for immortality.

3 out of 5