“Oh, phooey with that. If you say I can’t do it, then you won’t be able to do it. Just go out and do it.” So, says an old woman in the documentary “Lives Well Lived.” How old is the woman, you might want to know, because who am I to say when old starts?
The phooey-just-do-it lady could be talking about a person of any age, but she is an old person talking about old people. She’s talking about herself. Another old woman in this film says, “Forget the number.”
In this film, subtitled “Celebrating the Secrets, Wit & Wisdom of Age,” the dozens of interviewees cook, seek nature, do yoga, dance, paint, sculpt, teach …. Of course, there is an unavoidable landscape of reminiscence throughout, including hardship and loss, including people living through World War II, through The Holocaust.
“Lives Well Lived” doesn’t harp on heaviness. It does acknowledge it, though, perhaps because it provides a platform for appreciation of the opportunities in carrying on. “Life plays with you, doesn’t it?” one person relates. “You have to take it. And you have to battle it.”
The director of the film, Sky Bergman, says she made the film because her mother was still going to exercise at the gym at age 100. Bergman interacted with countless people who had stories to tell. She spent four years making “Lives Well Lived.” It is noteworthy to mention that the active elders in this film had health and means enough to be so.
If you are old, you may think you don’t need a movie to encourage you how to be old. If you aren’t old, you probably will be; certainly, you know people who are.
“Lives Well Lived” is touching, documentary-lite about being old. Life affirming inputs breeze around you. While the secrets, wit and wisdom of this film won’t surprise anyone, it feels good to connect with a 70-minute package like this.