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Review: Words of wisdom from a 102-year-old Rocky Mountain beer scion in 'Bill Coors: The Will to Live'

Review: Words of wisdom from a 102-year-old Rocky Mountain beer scion in 'Bill Coors: The Will to Live'
Bill Coors, from the documentary "Bill Coors: The Will to Live." (KDC Films)

“Bill Coors: The Will to Live” is less a documentary than a testimonial to the now-102-year-old beer mogul and the significant contributions he has made in both the fields of business and wellness. Directed by Kerry David, the film is structured around a speech Coors gave in 1981 to graduates of the American Academy of Achievement and lays out a series of self-help-style life lessons.

The grandson of Adolph Coors, William Coors seemed born to take his place in the family business. However, a life of stress and a series of tragedies made him ill in a way conventional medicine could not help. Anxiety and depression were not things people spoke of in the 1960s and Coors turned to alternative cures and shared these discoveries with his employees, becoming a leader in the concept of wellness in the workplace.

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There is a guarded, oddly elliptical quality to the film. Coors opens up about some of the most painful moments of his life, but important details remain on the periphery and we never really see how he made the leap from understanding what he was going through to the implementation of the healthful lifestyle that made him better. Doctors and a series of young people (perhaps serving as surrogates for the students Coors addressed 37 years ago) do most of the heavy lifting in terms of explaining the benefits, but it makes for a choppy narrative.

The prescription of rest, meditation, exercise and nutrition is not exactly fresh, but Coors’ story is inspiring and the message that mental, physical and spiritual health are inextricably linked is one we cannot hear often enough.

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‘Bill Coors: The Will to Live’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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