How to Live Forever (According to Hollywood)

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 28 2011 12:17 PM

How to Live Forever (According to Hollywood)

Immortality never gets old. The movie In Time, released today, is just the newest incarnation of the “fountain of youth” fantasy, in which eternal life is available to a select few. In Time takes place in a dystopian future where time has become currency (a cup of coffee costs four minutes of your life) and aging halts at 25. After the quarter-century mark, an individual is allotted just one more year unless he or she earns more time through work or inheritance. Here, time takes a digital form—years are downloaded from a device that’s held up to one’s wrist. Chaos ensues when the movie’s protagonist (Justin Timberlake) revolts against this government-enforced system.  

Immortality imbibed or traded for—think elixirs and sorcerer’s stones—almost always spells doom: The woman who drinks the golden potion, say, outlives everyone she loves and ends up miserable, alone, and deranged. And yet we keep coming back to the idea—and creating increasingly odd variations on the story. In the slide show below, we've compiled some of the more bizarre immortality-inducing entities from the last few decades in movies. Enjoy.

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Elizabeth Weingarten is the associate editor at New America and the associate director of its Global Gender Parity Initiative.