Hot Docs review: The Record Breaker

The Record Breaker is a short film that depicts the perfect example of someone who lives life happily and to the fullest.

Directed by Brian McGinn, the film follows Ashrita Furman, a man who currently holds the official record for the most Guinness World Records set by an individual.

With approximately 415 records  such as apple cutting with a Samurai sword  and walking backwards in 440-lb iron shoes under his belt, Ashrita has been obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records since he was a young boy.

A health food store owner and devotee of meditation, he travels the world creating new categories for record achievement.  Driven by the passion he holds for breaking records, this film documents Ashrita as he attempts to climb the Machu Picchu on stilts.

Part of the World Showcase at the 2012 Hot Docs film festival in Toronto, this film is light-hearted with several funny moments. But despite not being a full-length feature, it does a great job at looking into Ashrita’s past and the challenges he has faced.  Once a  good student who had the potential to become a lawyer, his parents were not always supportive when he decided to drop out of school to pursue other goals.

But not once does this film make its viewers feel that its subject has failed to lead a fulfilling life.  In fact, Ashrita appears as happy as can be.

Even his estranged father Bernard begins to take note of this. Coming to terms with his son’s way of life of following his own joys, he offers, “He is the happiest person I know.  Isn’t that what every parent wants?”

And despite being a 28 minute feature, the film certainly depicts Ashrita as someone who has a good sense of who he is.  Even though he has a humble occupation with  no signs of a wife or girlfriend,  this individual is a charming and happy-go-lucky character who finds deeper meaning in the world by living on his own terms. 

Delightful and touching, this film is one that will leave you in a good mood. 

With Ashrita serving as the perfect model of someone who lives life to the fullest, we should all aspire to be more like him.


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